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Learn more about Nuclear Criticality Safety Division

A Professional Division of the American Nuclear Society dealing with the practice of ensuring that fissile material operations outside of reactors are performed safely.  Our area of expertise encompasses operating practices, field support, code development, cross section measurement, critical and subcritical experimentation as well as common sense.


A diverse and active group. We represent all facets of nuclear criticality safety, including academics, the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, contractors, owners and operators of nuclear facilities.  We include national and international individuals, professionals and students, technical experts and program managers.  NCSD has over 800 members, yet is small enough to have others know your name and follow your development.

Criticality safety is a close-knit community and the opportunity for making technical and social contacts through NCSD is substantial.  NCSD gives you instant access to an extensive technical network that can help you solve difficult problems quickly and distinguish yourself from the crowd.  We provide training and resources to help you get the answer right the first time.  By getting involved, you can make a difference: contributing best practices and innovative solutions, helping others in your field through mentoring and sponsoring newcomers, and increasing the safety of the public.  NCSD represents a forum where you can develop leadership skills, contribute new ideas, make your opinions heard and help shape future standard practices and regulations.  We also recognize and award impressive contributions to the field.


  The highly educated and experienced Nuclear Criticality Safety (NCS) professionals examined in this study are commanding healthy salaries, an attractive array of benefits and they appear to have satisfaction in their overall compensation. Their salaries are higher than that of all engineers when adjusting for years of experience, which can be attributed to a number of factors including:

  • Large portion of respondents with advanced degrees (66%)
  • Significant professional experience: 21.9 years on average
  • Significant experience in NCS: 14.6 years on average
  • Expertise in NCS, where 65% (on average) of respondents’ time is devoted to NCS

Nuclear Criticality Safety Professionals Compensation Study        (PDF) (October 2016)

News / Upcoming Events

Dr. Robert D. Busch Receives 2018 Standards Service Award

American Nuclear Society (ANS) President John E. Kelly recognized several award recipients at the opening plenary of the ANS Winter Meeting at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida, on Monday, November 12, 2018. Dr. Robert D. Busch was recognized as the 2018 Standards Service Award recipient. The Standards Service Award recognizes outstanding achievement by individuals in the generation and use of ANS standards in the field of nuclear science and engineering.

Robert Busch joined ANS in 1987 and became involved in the ANS standards program shortly after. He first joined the ANS-8.20 Working Group (Nuclear Criticality Safety Training) which led to his support and often leadership of several other ANS standards. In 1993, he became a member of the Nuclear Criticality Safety Consensus Committee (NCSCC) formerly N16. Busch served two terms as NCSCC Chair (2011–2017) and remains an active member today.

Busch has held many positions at the University of New Mexico (UNM) since 1976, with the exception of 1978 through 1985, when he worked as a consultant in energy engineering and software design. Busch is currently in charge of the university’s Nuclear Engineering Laboratory and is Chief Reactor Supervisor for their teaching reactor. In addition to teaching, he is a lecturer and undergraduate advisor.

Busch has taught a series of short courses for new practitioners and managers to understand nuclear criticality safety. He continues to teach young professionals about nuclear criticality safety using ANS-8 standards as the foundation for his classes, with an emphasis on the importance of voluntary consensus standards. Many of his past students are heavily involved in the ANS standards program and are following in his footsteps by playing major roles. Busch’s participation in the ANS standards program and his teaching have made the industry safer through the development and use of voluntary consensus standards.

In addition to Busch’s support of ANS standards, he is active in several ANS governance activities. Busch’s commitment and service was recognized by his peers in the ANS Nuclear Criticality Safety Division by awarding him their Distinguished Service Award in 2001. He is also a member of the ANS Education, Training & Workforce Development Division. As a member of the ANS Professional Engineering (PE) Examination Committee, Busch is one of the main developers of a nuclear PE exam online module program currently in development. If that’s not enough, Busch is coauthoring a new book titled Nuclear Criticality Safety: Evaluations, Calculations, and Experiences.