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A guide to using your career to help solve climate change

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

Get Into Nuclear provides information and support to help people switch into careers that support the pursuit of solving climate change. We do this by helping people to find work in the nuclear industry.

Solve Climate Change With Nuclear

This page is a summary of what we have learned so far. We start by providing you with our ultimate end goals and providing you with the details. We are going to consider four topics that 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 like a lot, but it 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 valuable 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’.

Clean Environment

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 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 by-product's 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)

Uranium Pellets

“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 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)

Nuclear Construction

“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)


Clean Air

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 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

Nuclear Waste

“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)


Iran Nuclear Deal

Security concerns

“There are three aspects to this. First is the security of supply. Unlike renewables, nuclear energy offers a 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)


Safety Concerns

“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 production stage, 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 the industry has historically neglected. 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, depending 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.


Nuclear Social Value

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 perfectly fits your skills and interests.


PLEASE NOTE: below is a brief general overview of the skills, experience and qualifications needed. Us the information to create a shortlist 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 in 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;

Personal Qualities:

  • 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 in 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 their application within a nuclear new build project

3. Reactor Operation

Personal Qualities:

  • 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

Essential Skills:

  • Minimum of HNC level, but preference would be for a degree in a relevant science or engineering discipline.

Desirable skills:

  • Prior knowledge of safety case or hazard assessment in the context of industry

  • Prior knowledge of operational reactor physics

4. Site Inspectors

Personal Qualities:

  • 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, safety oversight, and/or engineering or technical support to nuclear or other high hazard plants.

  • Extensive experience in 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.

Qualifications:

  • 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

Essential Crite