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    Nuclear Operator/ Waste Handler

Nuclear Operator/Waste Handler Apprenticeship Program

Upon successful completion of the 6-semester Apprenticeship Program, N3B reimburses tuition expenses and offers the opportunity for full-time employment working as a Nuclear Operator.

The Nuclear Operator is responsible for proper handling, packaging, treatment, and documenting of hazardous and radioactive waste exhibiting chemical and radiological hazards. Specifically, the Nuclear Operator provides technical support including opening waste containers, removing waste items if possible, and describing the waste items and recording the results. This position involves routine interaction with various personnel in coordinating characterization, certification, and disposition of waste items, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements with regard to receipt, storage, and disposal of waste items. Work is performed in a complex environment involving radiological control and security areas. Work is both inside and outside of buildings in varying weather conditions. This position requires job specific/site specific training.

No previous nuclear experience is required to start the program.


Average Salary in New Mexico based on the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).

Who Can Be a Nuclear Operator/Waste Handler?

Must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree. Additional minimum qualifications include:   

  • Must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on all academic studies
  • Must be willing to travel up to 10% of work-related hours for outside education
  • Must be willing to work a variety of shifts (e.g., 8-hour days, 9-hour days, or 10-hour days—not to exceed 80 hours in a 2-week time period)
  • Must have the ability to pass and maintain all physical qualifications as required by the Department of Energy (DOE) Order 426.2, and N3B.
  • Have effective interpersonal skills (e.g., ability to work as part of a team, communicate effectively, work/interact effectively and amicably with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures)
  • Excellent communication skills to effectively convey thoughts clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing

Program Sponsor

Newport News Nuclear BWXT-Los Alamos LLC (N3B)
1350 Central Park, Suite 300
Los Alamos, NM 87544

Mark Russell
(505) 257-7320

To obtain general information about registered apprenticeship, please fill out the form below and a representative from the State Apprenticeship Office will contact you by email.

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For the Nuclear Operator Apprenticeship,
applicants must submit a résumé, a letter of recommendation (from a non-family member), and a letter of interest, along with completing the online application. Application materials will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Candidates who are selected for the program must, within one week of notification:

  • Request official transcripts
  • Schedule the placement exam at Northern New Mexico College
  • Complete the Background Investigation*
  • Complete the drug screening test*

*Offers of employment into the Apprenticeship Program are contingent upon successfully meeting and/or passing the above criteria.

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