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Upon completion of the 6 month academic course at Nuclear Power School, students are assigned to one of the two Nuclear Power Training Units (NPTU's) where there are several nuclear reactor prototypes in operation. The locations are Ballston Spa, NY and Charleston, SC.

The prototypes serve a two-fold purpose: to test power plant designs, and to train Navy personnel to operate and maintain nuclear propulsion plants.  The prototypes are identical in nearly all aspects to their sea-going counterparts.  The typical trainee spends six months qualifying as a nuclear power plant operator.  Part of this period is spent learning in detail all of the systems and components of the prototype.  In order to provide the highest degree of competence and safety in nuclear propulsion plant operations, it is essential that all operators have a thorough understanding of the plant as a whole.  By the time a trainee reports to his nuclear-powered ship, she or he already has considerable experience in operating and maintaining a nuclear propulsion plant.


Upon completion of operator qualifications, selected Machinist's Mates receive extensive welding training in Groton, CT.  This training starts with student qualification in ordinary mild steel welding and proceeds to the highly specialized stainless steel welding process.  Welding school is an additional school with an additional two months of training.


Selected Machinist's Mates receive extensive training in Nuclear and Steam plant water chemistry control, laboratory procedures, radiological chemistry and controls and radiological monitoring instruments. Engineering Laboratory Technician Training will add three additional months to the time spent at the prototype.