radiation sugar cookies

radiation cookies 8

If I don’t often talk about what I do for a living, it’s because it’s hard to explain. I don’t have one of those jobs that you can name in one word and people will get at least some idea of how you spend your days, like being a teacher or nurse or accountant or engineer. My official title is either Scientist 2 or Difficult Waste Expert.

radiation symbol

If I say I work with nuclear waste, you might start to picture Homer Simpson’s job, but mostly I work in an office with spreadsheets. Our official task is to come up with ways to get radioactive waste (stuff mostly left over from the Cold War; not spent nuclear fuel) safely disposed of. There is a radioactive waste repository near my town, half a mile underground in a salt deposit, but I never have any reason to go out there.

radiation containment suit

Even so, my coworkers and I are trained on what the radiation symbol looks like, including the colors – yellow and magenta, at least until you run out of magenta icing, and then black is acceptable. Not even one of the thirty or so people in my office have been required to wear hazmat suits for our current positions, but the idea was too cute to pass up.

radiation cookies 10

I was worried my nuclear containment guys would end up looking like yellow astronaut teddy bears, but I think I got the point across. Other than one manager who thought they might be eskimos, my coworkers loved these. And after another long day looking at computers, trying to make tiny steps toward solving the country’s nuclear waste problem, a distraction in the form of cute cookies is something we could all use.

One year ago: Baked Eggs in Mushrooms with Zucchini Ragout
Two years ago: Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Three years ago: Sourdough Bagels
Four years ago: Apple Cheddar Scones


  1. So funny, such a great idea. I have to bake some for my coworkers. I too work in the nuke industry 😉

  2. These are awesome, and the decorations so well executed! I’m a New Mexican, also (I suspected you work at WIPP based on tidbits contained in earlier posts), and I work in D.C. for another New Mexican. These would be a hit in my office!

  3. You work at WIPP! So cool. WIPP-WAC is one of my favorite acronyms of all time. I used to work at LANL and still work in the nuclear sector. No wonder you are so awesome.

  4. Steph (@crushgear) says:

    Haha, these are incredibly adorable and I love that it’s themed for your office. I’m sure your coworkers loved it!

  5. cherie says:

    What a treat for your coworkers – I think they’re adorable!

  6. Those are great!

  7. These are so cute!! My husband is also in the nuclear field. I made him a nuclear cake a few years ago. Maybe next time I’ll do cookies.

  8. Maureen, Milwaukee says:

    You have real decorating talent! Your photos – like the partite diagram you used also gives a clue to your background – what a great combo of two sciences – baking and nuclear technology. At first I thought the little figures were Kenny from South Park (!!) , but as soon as I saw the symbol, I “got” it!

  9. These are so cute!! I love them. Maybe you should consider wearing a hazmat suit to work one day, just for kicks. Haha! 🙂

  10. These are great. Only you could use the words “nuclear,” “sugar cookies,” and “cute” in the same post.

  11. These are great! Love em! Your summer chopped salad looks fabulous as well. 🙂

  12. Nan Ange says:

    I am an RCt (radiological control tech) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in VA. I have made “zoomie” cupcakes with atomic icing on top, and submarine sugar cookies…but your cookies are awesome!! I will have to make them soon 🙂

  13. joyce says:

    I’m going to be giving a lecture on hazardous materials apps for smartphones. I’ve been hunting for snacks, treats, well, appetizers, for the lecture. These are perfect. Not sure how well they’ll transport, but, great idea!