Naval Nuclear Power School

Naval Nuclear Power School

name = Naval Nuclear Power School

motto = Knowledge, Integrity, Excellence
established = 1955
type = Military Technical School
head_label = Commanding Officer
head = CAPT Thomas Bailey, USN
city = Goose Creek
state = South Carolina
country = USA
students = 2,500
staff = 500
campus = Naval base
website= [] |

Naval Nuclear Power School is a nuclear engineering school operated by the U.S. Navy to train enlisted sailors, officers, KAPL civilians and Bettis civilians for shipboard nuclear power plant operation and maintenance of surface ships and submarines in the U.S. nuclear navy. Due to its depth and fast pace, it is regarded as the one of the most difficult academic programs in the country.Fact|date=September 2008The United States Navy currently operates 87 total nuclear power plants including 73 submarines, 10 aircraft carriers, and 4 training/research prototype plants.


Prospective enlisted enrollees in the Nuclear Power Program must have a qualifying score on the ASVAB exam, may need to pass a general science exam and must be able to attain a "confidential" security clearance.

Women were not allowed into the Naval Nuclear Field until 1980. Fact|date=August 2008 With the repeal of the Combat Exclusion Law in the 1994 Defense Authorization Act, and the decision to open combatant ships to women, the Navy began accepting women into NNPS for duty aboard nuclear-powered surface combatant ships. [cite web
title=Naval Reactors
author=National Nuclear Security Administration |accessdate=2008-09-14
] Female graduates of NNPS may serve on the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), Nimitz Class aircraft carriers and at shore commands.

Enlisted personnel must have already graduated from the Class A school for their rating assignment as a Machinist's Mate (MM), Electrician's Mate (EM), or Electronics Technician (ET) before commencing their training at the Naval Nuclear Power School. Sailors in the nuclear ratings account for 3% of the enlisted Navy.

While the rigorous training program differs slightly in terms of content for the officers and enlisted ratings, the following topics are provided to all program attendees:

* Mathematics
* Nuclear Physics
* Electrical theory and equipment
* Reactor plant technology
* Thermodynamics aka "Heat Transfer & Fluid Flow"
* Chemistry
* Materials engineering and metallurgy
* Health physics
* Reactor principles

The principal difference between the enlisted course and the officer course is the more extensive post-Calculus mathematical examination of reactor dynamics studied by the officers, and the officers' study of the entire scope of "cross-rate" knowledge.

The nuclear program is widely acknowledged as having the most demanding academic program in the U.S. military today. The school operates at a fast pace, with stringent academic standards in all subjects. Students typically spend 45 hours per week in the classroom, and study an additional 10 to 50 hours per week outside of lecture hours, six days per week. Because the classified materials are restricted from leaving the training building, students cannot study outside of the classroom.

Students who fail tests and otherwise struggle academically are required to review their performance with instructors. The student may be given remedial homework or other study requirements. Failing scores due to personal negligence, rather than a lack of ability, can result in charges of "dereliction of duty" under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Failing students may be held back to repeat the coursework with a new group of classmates; but failing students are typically released from the Nuclear Power Program and are re-designated with the non-nuclear rating of their specialty. Many colleges and universities award college credit to graduates of Naval Nuclear Power School for the unclassified portions of the curriculum. Fact|date=August 2008 Because large parts of the curriculum are classified, the amount of college credit awarded may not accurately reflect the depth of the coursework. The American Council of Education recommends an average of 60-80 semester-hours of college credit, in the lower-division baccalaureate/associate degree category, for completion of the entire curriculum including both Nuclear Field "A" School and Naval Nuclear Power School. The variation in total amount depends on the specific pipeline completed: MM, EM, or ET. Some universities that offer degrees in Nuclear, Mechanical, Electrical, and Electronics Engineering/Engineering Technology grant the full ACE-recommended credits to NNPTC graduates.Fact|date=September 2008 Further, under the Navy's SOCNAV college program, the residency requirements at these civilian institutions are reduced to only 10-25%, allowing a student to take as little as 12 units of coursework (typically 4 courses) through the degree-granting institution to complete their bachelors degree.Fact|date=September 2008

Graduates of Nuclear Power School continue with six additional months of hands-on experience and training at a Nuclear Power Training Unit with operating nuclear reactors.

Upon separation from the Navy, nuclear plant operators are often employed in civilian nuclear power plants or in similar industries.

History of locations

Originally, the school was located at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut. In 1962, the school was then moved to (the now former) Naval Training Center Bainbridge, Maryland and later to (the now former) Naval Training Center Orlando, Florida.

In addition to the school at Bainbridge, there was a second Nuclear Power School at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, in Vallejo, California. The Mare Island school operated from January 1959 until 1977 when training was consolidated to Orlando.

Today, the Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC) is located on the Naval Weapons Station Charleston in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Construction of the Charleston facility was completed in 1998. Both locations operated simultaneously for a number of months until the last Orlando class graduated.

Nuclear Power Training Unit

Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU), also located at Naval Weapons Station Charleston, has two decommissioned submarines, MTS-626 and MTS-635. These moored training ships have their missile compartments removed, but have fully operational S5W reactor power plants.

Two land-based reactor prototypes are based at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory facility in Ballston Spa, NY.

From the early 1950s to the mid-1990s, Naval Reactors Facility (NRF) in Idaho trained nearly 40,000 Navy personnel in surface and submarine nuclear power plant operations with three nuclear propulsion prototypes: A1W, S1W and S5G. [cite web |url=
title=Cleaning house and charting a future at INL
author=Paul Menser

College Equivalence

The American Council on Education has evaluated the course of instruction at NNPTC and recommended the following credits be given: [ ACE Military Guide | Course Exhibit ] ]

*5 hours in general physics
*3 hours in heat transfer and fluid flow
*3 hours in nuclear reactor engineering
*1 hour in atomic and nuclear physics
*1 hour in radiation protection technology
*3 hours in general chemistry and principles of materials
*4 hours in technical mathematics.

Additionally, for Machinist's Mates
*3 hours in applied thermodynamics and heat transfer
*3 hours in power plant systems
*3 hours in basic electricity

For Electronics Technicians and Electrician's Mates
*2 hours in hydraulic systems
*2 hours in DC circuits
*2 hours in AC circuits
*2 hours in digital principles
*2 hours in electric machines


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