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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (mri) by State
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Nuclear Technicians

Nuclear technicians assist physicists, engineers, and other professionals in nuclear research and nuclear production. They operate special equipment used in these activities and monitor the levels of radiation that are produced. Show Details

Duties

Nuclear technicians typically do the following:

  • Monitor the performance of equipment used in nuclear experiments and power generation
  • Measure the levels and types of radiation produced by nuclear experiments, power generation, and other activities
  • Collect and test samples of air, water, and other substances for levels of radioactive contamination
  • Instruct personnel on radiation safety procedures and warn them when conditions are hazardous
  • Maintain radiation monitoring and operating equipment

Job duties and titles of nuclear technicians often depend on where they work and what purpose the facility serves. Most nuclear technicians work in nuclear power plants, where they ensure that reactors and other equipment are operated safely and efficiently. Two examples of technicians who work in nuclear power plants are operating technicians and radiation protection technicians.

Operating technicians use computers, gauges, and other instruments to monitor the performance of nuclear power plants under the supervision of nuclear reactor operators and engineers. They base calculations on factors such as temperature, pressure, and radiation intensity to determine whether equipment is functioning properly. Operating technicians must make adjustments to improve the performance of reactors and other equipment, such as opening and closing valves and electrical breakers.  

Radiation protection technicians monitor radiation levels at nuclear power plants to protect personnel, facilities, and the surrounding environment from contamination. They use radiation detectors to measure levels in the environment and dosimeters to measure the levels present in people and objects. Radiation protection technicians also are responsible for setting up and testing instruments that monitor radiation levels remotely. They use the data collected by these instruments to map radiation levels throughout the plant and the surrounding environment. From their findings, they recommend radioactive decontamination plans and safety procedures for personnel. 

Nuclear technicians also work in waste management and treatment facilities, where they monitor the disposal, recycling, and storage of nuclear waste.  They perform duties similar to those of radiation protection technicians at nuclear power plants.

Other nuclear technicians work in laboratories. They help nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers, and other scientists conduct research and develop new types of nuclear reactors, fuels, medicines, and other technologies. They use equipment such as radiation detectors, spectrometers (used to measure gamma ray and x-ray radiation), and particle accelerators to conduct experiments and gather data. They also may use remote-controlled equipment to manipulate radioactive materials or materials exposed to radiation. 

Radiologic Technologists

Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x rays, on patients. Show Details

Duties

Radiologic technologists typically do the following:

  • Adjust and maintain imaging equipment
  • Precisely follow orders from physicians on what areas of the body to image
  • Prepare patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
  • Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
  • Position the patient and the equipment in the location needed to get the correct image
  • Operate the computerized equipment to take the images
  • Work with radiologists reading the images to determine whether other images need to be taken
  • Keep detailed patient records

Healthcare professionals use many types of diagnostic equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment. They may be called CT technicians or MRI technicians, depending on the equipment they work with. Radiologic technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use low-dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties.

Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists and technicians, and vascular technologists. For more information, see the profiles on nuclear medicine technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians and vascular technologists

Some radiologic technologists prepare a mixture for the patient to drink that allows soft tissue to be seen on the images that the radiologist reviews.

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