Together with other variables, human factors play a central role in the safety of highly complex technical systems such as nuclear power plants. However, despite the unquestionable importance of human factors, little information is available about relevant ability requirements for control room jobs in nuclear power plants. The purpose of this study was to close this gap, to provide specific information about ability requirements for such jobs, and to evaluate how several hypothesized factors (ability domain, type of job, and operating condition) contribute to ability requirements. We found that high levels of cognitive as well as social/interpersonal abilities are needed for control room jobs, and that ability requirements increase with the hierarchical job level for these two domains but decrease for psychomotor/physical abilities and for sensory/perceptual abilities. Furthermore, specifically concerning jobs with a leadership function, we found some differences between incidents and normal operations regarding requirements for social/interpersonal abilities, indicating that the former require a different leadership style than the latter.