Homer Simpson is smarter than you.
Yes, I’m talking about the famous yellow sitcom dad from the long-running animated series “The Simpsons.”
Everything in this article is based on facts and my 21 years of experience in the nuclear industry, plus discussions with thousands of nuclear-trained employees. Not only is Homer smarter than you, he also makes more money than you—a lot more.
Let me start by telling you a story based on actual events that frequently occur at nuclear power plants.
A young man—we’ll call him John—has been working at a commercial power plant and is a veteran of the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power Program, one of the three top jobs in the military that require the most brain power. John has just failed his second exam in a row, and he’s been asked to meet the plant manager at the site’s public education center, which is outside the security area. There, the contents of his locker are waiting for him and he’s been informed that he’ll no longer be working at the power plant.
What does this have to do with Homer Simpson?
Homer Simpson completed a similar program well before 1989, when “The Simpsons” started. Based on the information in the long-running series, Homer is actually a licensed reactor operator. Our friend John was in the non-licensed program and couldn’t make it through that. I have taken exams similar to John’s, and they require a serious amount of technical information knowledge and attention to detail.
From “The Simpsons,” we learned that Homer applied to work at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant right out of high school. Homer is frequently seen operating the dials and knobs in the control room, a task only people with a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reactor operator license can perform.
That means that Homer went through a 40-month non-licensed training program, and then, the most academically rigorous education program on the planet for 18 months. A licensed senior reactor operator I know, who is a Naval Academy graduate, said it was the hardest thing he had done in his life. There are exams after exams after exams. First, on engineering fundamentals, followed by nuclear systems, and culminating in an exam approved by the NRC with simulator sessions to match the training.
After earning his license, he still has training sessions several times a year. His license is on the line during each session. If he fails too many evaluated simulator sessions or written exams, they will take his license, along with the extra benefits he gets. This level of training and experience comes with a lot of pay.
Based on public union contracts for power plant workers, Homer’s hourly wage as a control room operator is about $46.50 an hour. But since he has a reactor operator’s license, he earns an additional $8 an hour, plus a $9,000 annual bonus. With overtime and paid holidays, he makes at least $160,000 a year and it’s possible for him to make $200,000 a year.
Stop underestimating this yellow sitcom dad.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.