Get Into Nuclear provides information and support to help people switch into careers to solve climate change. We do this by helping people to find work in the nuclear industry.
This page is a summary of what we have learned so far. We start by giving you the ultimate goals and go on to provide you with the details. Below are the topics that we will run through with you. At the end we will give you the tools to change your career:
1. The case for nuclear energy as clean energy to support climate change.
2. Why there is a need to inspire and attract people to want to work in the nuclear industry.
3. Some ideas for career paths based on your transferrable skills.
4. A list of considerations when building your career plan.
It may take 15 minutes or so to read this guide in full. If you fully implement the advice, it may take you the whole day. This may feel a lot but is an important use of your time. Particularly considering how much time you will be spending at work over the course of your life. Ensuring that you are in the right role, in a worthwhile industry, deserves some of your time.
Nuclear Energy As Clean Energy
The Case FOR Nuclear Energy as Clean Energy
At Get Into Nuclear, we help people find careers in the nuclear industry, enabling them to ‘make a difference’, ‘do good’, or ‘have a positive impact’.
In this section, we outline what we mean by these phrases. We believe that the nuclear industry has the ability to change the world dramatically. However, we understand that this is not the beliefs of many, so we have put together a factual case for nuclear energy and further reading links.
We do not provide you with ‘advice’ in this section as we do not want to promote the use of nuclear technologies. We want you to make up your own mind as to whether the nuclear industry is for you. Is our information biased towards pro-nuclear? Of course, but we try to be as balanced as we can be.
Nuclear Energy is Clean Energy
“Because nuclear fuel contains so much more energy in a small mass than anything else, it’s possible to keep all the byproducts accounted for and out of the biosphere, in strong contrast to fossil and biofuels which release much of their combustion wastes into the air. Additionally, splitting atoms doesn’t make carbon dioxide, so nuclear power is a potential global solution to climate change.” (whatisnuclear.com)
“The new energy mix needs to be low carbon if we are to meet tough carbon reduction targets.” (niauk.org)
Nuclear Energy provides a security baseload energy 24/7/365
“One loading of fuel lasts 18+ months in a reactor, and they generally operate for that long non-stop. No cloudy days or calm nights will prevent nuclear energy from being delivered to those dependent on it. This can be an important complement to low-carbon but variable power sources like wind and solar” (whatisnuclear.com)
“Nuclear energy keeps us strong and safe, both domestically and abroad. In 2014, natural gas plants froze up during the polar vortex and couldn’t deliver electricity when needed. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, conventional power plants, wind turbines, and solar panels didn’t stand a chance. Still, South Texas Project Generating Station continued to provide uninterrupted energy for hospitals and emergency responders.
Meanwhile, our nuclear submarines and carriers continue to be a source of stability in the world, assisting with natural disasters, keeping merchant vessels safe, and facilitating global trade.” (generationatomic.org)
“Britain needs home-grown energy to reduce dependence on foreign imports and keep the lights on.” (niauk.org)
Nuclear Waste can be minimal.
“Well, there’s not that much. In fact, all of the nuclear waste ever produced from commercial power generation could fit on a football field about 24 feet high. You could fit all of the waste from your entire lifetime of energy consumption in a 12oz Coke can. We can safely store it in dry casks until we’re ready to recycle it in advanced reactors.” (generationatomic.org)
Nuclear Energy is Sustainable
“Though often not included with wind and solar, nuclear is technically renewable thanks to uranium extraction from seawater. Even without mining our oceans for Uranium, we have enough Uranium and Thorium for well over 100,000 years.” (generationatomic.org)
“We have enough nuclear fuel resources to power the world for literally billions of years with advanced reactors. Even with conventional reactors, peak uranium is far off.
Humans use a lot of energy, and we’re using more every day. Between 2000 and 2010, the world total energy consumption rose by an astounding 29%. Choices about our consumption of energy are fundamental to the primary geopolitical and environmental struggles of our day. Nuclear energy is a strong candidate for supplying our energy while alleviating these struggles.” (whatisnuclear.com)
Nuclear Energy requires a small land footprint.
“Because of the small land and mining footprint, emissions-free power, and waste management standards, nuclear power is the most scalable and environmentally friendly energy source on earth.” (generationatomic.org)
Nuclear Energy creates long-term well-paid jobs.
“Nuclear power provides high paying jobs and tax revenue to our communities. Many jobs in nuclear power are among the highest paying jobs available to people without a college degree, and the industry is a leading employer of veterans.” (generationatomic.org)
Nuclear is the safest form of energy production.
“All methods of producing energy have risks. Nuclear is statistically the safest. Every year, millions of people die from coal pollution, and workplace deaths in from other generation sources generate casualties at a higher rate than nuclear.” (generationatomic.org)
Renewables won’t solve climate change alone.
“Renewables play an important role in decarbonizing our energy portfolio, but they can’t do it alone. Studies have shown that decarbonizing with renewables alone is slower than with nuclear, so we need all the clean energy we can get. Carbon emissions in many countries correlate strongly with nuclear capacity.” (generationatomic.org)
Nuclear Energy provides economic growth.
“Investment in new nuclear will be a major engine for economic growth.” (niauk.org)
“Nuclear energy offers long term price stability for consumers and businesses.” (niauk.org)
The Case AGAINST Nuclear Energy
“The waste generated by nuclear reactors remains radioactive for tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Currently, there are no long-term storage solutions for radioactive waste, and most are stored in temporary, above-ground facilities. These facilities are running out of storage space, so the nuclear industry is turning to other types of storage that are more costly and potentially less safe.” (greenamerica.org)
“There are three aspects to this. First is the security of supply. Unlike renewables, nuclear energy offers continuous baseload supply. Second, nuclear is substantially an indigenous source of supply with an established infrastructure (although dependent on imports of uranium, which can be stored), and not, like oil or gas, potentially exposed to possible disruption of supplies (whether deliberate, accidental or commercial). Third, to ensure the security of nuclear materials, nuclear sites are well protected and comply with international regimes of safeguards to prevent proliferation.” (open.edu)
“Nuclear energy is also dangerous. We’re still living with the legacy of accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima which released huge amounts of radioactive material. Even without such accidents, nuclear power creates radioactive waste at every stage of production, including uranium mining and reprocessing of spent reactor fuel. Some of this waste will remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. Yet, nobody knows of a way to safely store it, so problems aren’t created for future generations.” (greenpeace.org.uk)
The Case for Nuclear Energy Summary
Okay, we promised that we would be unbiased, but we want you to be inspired enough to bring your transferrable skills into the nuclear industry.
We believe that nuclear energy provides clean energy, which works 24/7, requires little land, produces little waste that can be managed and is safe. Nuclear energy production also creates long-term well-paid jobs, provides economic growth and provides the required baseload to support renewables rather than gas.
Why there is a need to attract people to work in the nuclear industry
Which career paths will supply the most positive impact?
The most impactful careers are those to resolve those roles identified as the biggest risk to the delivery of nuclear projects. In the UK, this assessment is made as part of the NSSGs Nuclear Workforce Assessment.
Additionally, it is a huge positive to work in roles that have been historically neglected by the industry. It is also worth considering if you can bring different approaches to the sector.
We aim to give you some new idea of a long-term career path to pursue. You can then identify the best options for you, dependant upon your strengths and circumstances. What you will find is that there is a large range of job opportunities within the nuclear industry. All we can do is help you to expand your list of options and next steps.
We can’t decide the career path for you, but we can give you all of the information to make an informed decision. But don’t worry, we will advise you on how you may go about making a choice.
14 career categories to generate career options
From our own experience, discussions with recruiters, and the NSSG NWA output, we think that the below are good places to start to look to short-list your career options in nuclear.
You may be someone leaving School or College considering which courses to do at University. You may have lots of experience and skills in one particular area. Regardless, we recommend that you take the time to consider all options available to you before continuing. You never know, you may find a role that you have never considered before that fits your skills and interests perfectly.
PLEASE NOTE: the below is a brief general overview of the skills, experience and qualifications needed. Us the information to create a short-list of roles that you are interested in.
1. Safety Case Preparation
Essential Skills & Experience:
Engineering or Science Degree with Honours or Masters Degree.
At least 5 years relevant and recent experience working within the Defence Nuclear or Civil Nuclear Safety domains.
Experience of producing and managing nuclear safety case assessments for both new and ageing facilities.
An understanding of nuclear safety case implementation.
Security cleared to SC level or above.
Good interpersonal skills to operate in a dynamic and client-focused consultancy role.
Able to produce and review/correct high-quality technical reports.
Good team working and collaboration skills.
Desired Skills & Experience:
Chartered Engineer or similar or in an advanced stage of working towards chartership;
Master’s Degree in Safety related discipline.
Working knowledge of both Licence and Authorisation Conditions;
Knowledge and experience of working with regulatory organisations;
Positive can-do attitude;
An enthusiastic, outgoing, proactive, success orientated approach;
Ability to travel in support of assignments and to liaise with clients;
Excellent oral and written communication skills, including presentation skills;
Ability and initiative to work independently as well as part of a team.
2. Control and Instrumentation
Essential Qualifications and Experience:
I&C, Mechanical, Chemical or Electrical Engineering degree or equivalent qualification
Knowledge of Instrumentation and Control design
Experience of producing design documentation and Test Specifications
Familiarity with Human Performance techniques
Experience of working on an operating plant or an industrial site
Desirable Qualifications and Experience:
Knowledge of nuclear system design, thermal-hydraulic calculation and modelling
Working knowledge of fluid mechanics, heat transfer and thermodynamics
Knowledge of EPR design principles and Safety Classification
Understanding of Safety Case construction and Nuclear Safety requirements placed on systems
Knowledge of UK licensing requirements and its application within a nuclear new build project
3. Reactor Operation
Self-motivated, with a proven track record of achieving results
A desire for continuous improvement
Excellent communication and influencing skills
Ability to work as a team member
Minimum of HNC level but preference would be for a degree in a relevant science or engineering discipline.
Prior knowledge of safety case or hazard assessment in the context of industry
Prior knowledge of operational reactor physics
4. Site Inspectors
Strong interpersonal skills
An ability to influence at all levels of the Business,
A questioning attitude and
The courage to stand out whilst remaining objective, proportionate, and pragmatic.
Desired Skills and Experience:
Management, operation, maintenance, or safety oversight of, and/or engineering or technical support to nuclear or other high hazard plants.
Extensive experience of implementing, advising, or regulating HSSE arrangements or a track record of regulatory engagement.
Good analytical skills to support critical reviews of performance.
Strong verbal and written communication skills enabling consistent, transparent, and constructive delivery of sometimes-unwelcome feedback, challenge, or advice.
Ability to build relationships and establish networks and use them for gathering and sharing intelligence.
Chartered Membership of a relevant professional institution or demonstrate performance and/or experience at an equivalent professional level.
A degree, or equivalent, in an appropriate scientific or engineering subject.
National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health Certificate.
5. Project Planning and Control
Engineering degree in a relevant field of engineering
Experience of working on major projects
Experience of Stakeholder management
Change Management process
Strong Communication Skills
Nuclear experience, working within a regulated, licenced environment
Excellent use of MS Excel
Excellent use of Primavera
UK Change Connection Tool
6. Commissioning Engineers
Responsibilities will include:
Execution of the arrangements for controlling, witnessing, recording and assessing the results of commissioning tests which may affect safety
Identification of resource requirements
Ensuring that team members fully understand their responsibilities
Delivering the commissioning work scope to an agreed strategy and plan in a timely and cost-effective manner
Ensuring a proactive and balanced approach to safety (nuclear, radiological, conventional and environmental) to ensure that safety is optimised during commissioning
Reviewing commissioning progress and performance and taking appropriate corrective actions where necessary
Planning, balancing and prioritizing commissioning resources to support successful project delivery
Managing day to day liaison with personnel to obtain and necessary permissions and minimize impact to the project
Review of commissioning test results
Ensuring input to other project processes are incorporated, for example, design, HAZOP, risk, contract, estimating and knowledge management
Educated to HNC / HND or degree in a relevant engineering discipline or chartered engineering & member of an appropriate institute.
7. Electrical Engineers
Essential Skills and Knowledge:
A demonstrable track record of successful delivery within an electrical and/or control & instrumentation engineering role/environment including:
MV / LV power design and distribution
Building services systems including fire alarm, security, lighting design, lightning protection, earthing etc
Control & Instrumentation systems
Strong track record of working in project teams of various sizes
A clear understanding of, or experience within a client-facing & construction environment.
Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
Adaptable, resilient and able to work in multi-disciplinary settings
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
Professional, organised, and highly methodical
Demonstrable knowledge of engineering was a key attribute. Minimum 1 years within the last 3 years working within a regulated and quality assured system in roles reliant upon professional engineering judgment and design was a major part of the role.
Knowledge of relevant design tools, techniques and related methods, e.g. IT systems, BIM, thermal/energy analysis, calculations packages, etc.
Desirable Skills and Knowledge:
Experience of working in a wide variety of sectors, infrastructure & nuclear would be advantageous.
Good knowledge of BS 7671 and related documents
Good knowledge of CDM regulations
CAD, Revit, Amtech & other digital design packages knowledge & skills
Ability to think outside the specialism and integrate multi-disciplinary requirements into holistic, coordinated solutions focusing on constructability & working with contractors.
Working towards or obtained Professional Registration status (IEng / CEng) through IET, CIBSE, or other relevant body.
Degree qualified: likely Masters Engineering Degree or equivalent.
8. Emergency Planners
Job Description for Emergency Management:
Plan and direct disaster response or crisis management activities,
provide disaster preparedness training, and
prepare emergency plans and procedures for natural (e.g., hurricanes, floods, earthquakes), wartime, or technological (e.g., nuclear power plant emergencies or hazardous materials spills) disasters or hostage situations.
9. Quality Assurance staff
Skills, Experience and Attributes:
Demonstrated proficiency in auditing and surveillance of client and contractor activities.
Should be aware of the Site Licence requirements on quality assurance and arrangements required to ensure compliance.
Demonstrated proficiency in Quality Management standards and guidelines including the current versions of BS EN ISO09001
Working knowledge of the current versions of IAEA GC-R-3, BS EN ISO14001 & OHSAS 18001.
Demonstrated proficiency in Quality Management practices, methods and processes. This should include Projects Quality Management experience, ideally within the Nuclear Industry or other similar regulated environments.
HNC in a Technical Discipline or equivalent.
Recognised BE EN ISO9001 Internal Auditor Training completed. Certification as IRCA Auditor/Lead Auditor desirable.
Leadership Competencies required
A successful applicant will be able to demonstrate experience across this and the following disciplines.
· Challenge and Change:
· Decision Making:
· Leadership Values:
· Building Relationships:
· Leading through Teamwork:
· Open Communication:
· Developing Self and Others:
· Achievement Orientation:
Essential that you complete an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as chemistry, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry or chemical engineering.
The majority of nuclear chemists will also complete a relevant MSc or PhD before securing a position.
11. Steel Fixers
Essential skills and knowledge:
Understanding of civil engineering projects/complex projects
Experience of reinforced concrete in a direct delivery role
Experience of managing people in project environments
Provide value engineering in determining the best solutions to engineering problems
A strong communicator with the ability to present to the team and co-workers
Capable of building an effective team while Inspiring, challenging and motivating others.
Ensures timely decision making, driven off data
Demonstrates commitment to work to processes
Seeks to minimise waste in resources and materials
Presents a professional image and promotes the values of the project
an excellent eye for detail and the ability to understand and follow complex technical drawings and plans.
·Good levels of hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity are essential,
It’s also important to be physically fit,
Maths and arithmetic skills are needed.
Knowledge of the latest health and safety procedures and be able to safely use a range of hand and power tools and larger plant and machinery.
Be confident working both on your own and as part of a wider team.
There are no specific entry requirements for concrete operative jobs,
If you’re going to be involved in plant operations, you’ll need to apply for a CPCS card.
A Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.
13. Civil Engineering Operatives
Candidates must have the following skills/attributes:
Site Setting out Experience
Be able to set out groundworks and civil engineering works to a high degree of accuracy
Good technical knowledge of all aspects of Civil Engineering & Groundworks
Be comfortable working as part of a Site Management team to deliver construction projects
Must be willing to work at various locations in the North & South of England
CSCS essential. SSSTS & First Aid (useful but not essential)
Hold a clean, valid UK Driving Licence
Must have commercial scaffolding experience, references and CV will be needed.
Excellent rates of pay for the right candidates.
HGV Class 2 extremely desirable.
Must hold valid CISRS card, other certificates desirable.
The above 14 categories are a great place to start as they deemed ‘fragile’ as part of the NSSG NWA. However, they will not be the right fit for everyone.
For more generic roles, check out our “Nuclear Jobs by function” page as part of our Career Hub. There you will find more information on roles such as:
Quality Control and Assurance
Health, Safety and Environmental
We are currently updating the site to include a couple of neglected roles becoming more prevalent in the nuclear industry.
Social Media / Content Management
Digitisation of Design
Considerations when building your career plan
At Get Into Nuclear, we believe that it is useful to build a career plan. This is a step-by-step process that results in finding a job that is part of a bigger strategy.
Before starting your plan, you must have your strategy right. What is the big picture? What do you want to get out of your working time? What do you want others to get out of your working time?
It is important to note your career goals and the type of work you want to be doing. You can then build a long-term career path and pick your strategic focus based on your current situation. Do you need to up-skill? Do you need to build a network? Are you ready to jump in and apply?
Make sure that you have a back-up plan for when things go wrong – and they will.
We have created a step-by-step guide that will walk you through the steps you need to follow to define and implement your plan. We call it the Six-Step To Get Into Nuclear. The 6-steps are:
Know who you are
Know what you want
Know the business
Know the skills
Know the people
We’ve helped hundreds of people through this process. All have gained insight about themselves and produced a killer CV. Many have gone on to pursue a career in the nuclear industry. Others have used what they learned from the course and applied them successfully to a different career.
The guide has been built in a way that any can use it. Just starting or making a late-career change. Feel free to jump in and out of the different sections as you see fit. An experienced welder may only need to brush up on their knowledge of the nuclear industry. A recent graduate may decide to up-skill themselves before coming back to the guide and developing their CV.
We wish you all the luck in the world with your job searching.
How else can we help?
Get Into Nuclear is a self-funded endeavour by workers in the nuclear industry. We are looking to impact the industry, impact on your career, and larger impact across the globe. We're are building a community of people who are inspired to take their transferable skills and provide value to clean, carbon-free energy production.
Join the Green Energy Revolution The first place to start is our Nuclear Career Hub. We provide you with tons of info and links to key resources if you wish to find out more. Once you understand nuclear and all its associated benefits you will never look back. Nuclear Career Hub If you are interested in going further to find your place in the nuclear industry we have an online course which will guide you every step of the way. Six-Steps to Get Into Nuclear If you are ready to apply for jobs, or just want more ideas of role in the nuclear industry, see out job board. We have hundred of live roles on there which are updated regularly by a number of sources. Get Into Nuclear Job Board