Start Here

Think of this page as a beginner’s guide, or a simple how-to manual.

This page doesn’t list every article published on this website. It lists those that provide a fundamental understanding of some of the most basic concepts any electrical engineer starting out in the nuclear power industry should master as soon as possible in their career.

Stepping through the articles listed here, in the order presented, will give you a basic understanding of how the NRC impacts every plant design. You will also develop working knowledge of the standard electrical engineering design tasks — and how to do them.


One of the first and easiest things you can do is to subscribe to the Twitter feeds of all the relevant US nuclear power plants. I have simplified that process by compiling the handles into a single location and creating a highly specific list you can subscribe to. You can access the Twitter handles and subscribe to the list by clicking here: All US Nuclear Plant Twitter FeedsMonitoring this timeline is a good way to keep up with industry news on a daily basis.

1. Industry Background

The Creation of the NRC

The NRC’s Structure

NRC Regional Offices and Resident Inspectors

The NRC’s Budget and Income Streams

2. Rules and Regulations

The Most Common Licensing Basis Documents

The General Design Criteria


A Brief Intro to the Tech Specs

A Simple Illustration of an LCO

Explaining the LCO Concept Using an Analogy

Power Plant “Modes” Explained Here

The Most Important Task Performed by the Tech Specs

Modifying the UFSAR with the 50.59 Process

The Definition of “Safety Related” Explained

The Term “Class 1E” Explained

Environmental Qualification

Environmental Qualification Testing Standards

Redundancy and Diversity

Redundancy and the Single-Failure Criterion

Diversity and Common-Mode Failures

3. Design Background

Things to Look For When Doing Initial Background Research

Four Things to Consider When Selecting New Equipment

The Difference Between Single-Line and Schematic Diagrams

Typical Design Details You Shouldn’t Overlook When Creating Schematic Diagrams

An Example Schematic Drawing I Created to Show Some Standard Symbols

4. Sizing Cables

Introduction to Cable Insulation Designations

Basic Cable Sizing and Ampacity Determination

Derating Cable Ampacity – Count the Ground or Neutral?

Multiconductor Cables – Ampacity Differences

Cable Temperature Ratings

A Five-Step Cable Sizing Procedure

Voltage Drop

The Importance of Limiting Voltage Drop

If Your Voltage Drop Calculation Fails

5. Selecting Protective Devices

Breaker Sizing and Short-Circuits

Some Basic Protective-Device Principles

A Breaker’s Primary Function and Electromagnetic Forces

Circuit Breaker Withstand Ratings and Overload Conditions

Coordination Curves

Three Fault Regions of a Time-Current Plot

Three Kinds of Protective Devices

Calculating Short-Circuit Currents by Hand

Short-Circuit Behaviors of 5 Types of Electrical Equipment

The Origin of a Generator’s Subtransient Reactance

6. Additional Design Considerations

Conduit Sizing

Additional Conduit Design Concerns

Wiring Diagrams

6 Useful Tips for Making Better Wiring Diagrams

Some Non-Electrical Concerns to Take Into Account When Installing New Cables

Electrical, Civil, and Mechanical Risks When Creating New Wall Penetrations

7. Mod Packages

Introduction to Mod Packages

On Writing Work Instructions

Tips For Writing Better Work Instructions

Simple Ways to Enhance a Mod Package

Writing Numbers Correctly

Using Symbols Properly

A Word About Using Jargon