A guide to using your career to help solve climate change

Get Into Nuclear provides information and support to help people switch into careers that help 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. Making sure 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 to find careers in the nuclear industry which enables 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 dramatically change the world. However, we understand that this is not the beliefs of many, so we have put together a factual case for nuclear energy and links to further reading.



We do not provide you with ‘advice’ in this section as we do not want to be seen to be promoting the use of nuclear technologies. We want you to be able 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 who depend 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, during the polar vortex, natural gas plants froze up 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, but 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 create 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 provide 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 is 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)



Security concerns

“There are three aspects to this. First is 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 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 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 by un-biased, 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 relying on 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 which have been identified as a 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.


Our aim is 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 for you to make an informed decision. But don’t worry, we will give you advice on how you may go about making the choice.


14 career categories to generate career options

From our own experience, discussions with recruiters and the output of the NSSG NWA 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;

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 of producing design documentation and Test Specifications

  • Familiarity with Human Performance techniques

  • Experience of working on an operating plant or on 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

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, and 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.

Qualifications:

  • Chartered membership of a relevant professional institution or able to 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 Criteria:

  • Engineering degree in a relevant field of engineering

  • Experience of working on major projects

  • Experience of Stakeholder management

  • Risk Management

  • Risk analysis

  • Change Managements process

  • Strong Communication Skills

Desirable:

  • 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

  • Workload prioritisation

  • 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 a 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 judgement and where 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.

Desired Qualifications:

  • 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 experience within Projects Quality Management, ideally within the Nuclear Industry or other similar regulated environments.

Formal Qualifications:

  • 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.

Personal Qualities:

  • · Challenge and Change:

  • · Decision Making:

  • · Leadership Values:

  • · Building Relationships:

  • · Leading through Teamwork:

  • · Open Communication:

  • · Developing Self and Others:

  • · Achievement Orientation:

10. Chemists/Physicists

Entry requirements:

  • 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

Interpersonal Skills:

  • 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

12. Concreters

Desired skills:

  • 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, as well as larger plant and machinery.

  • Be confident working both on your own and as part of a wider team.

Desired Qualifications:

  • 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

14. Scaffolders

  • 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:

  • Project Management

  • Project Controls

  • Engineering

  • Procurement

  • Manufacturing

  • Site Works

  • Quality Control and Asssurance

  • Health, Safety and Environmental

  • Administration

  • Information Technology

  • Business Development

  • Sales Management

We are currently updating the site to include a couple neglected roles that are becoming more and more prevalent in the nuclear industry

  • Social Media / Content Management

  • Videographer

  • Digitisation of Design

Further Reading:

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 which results in you finding a job that is part of a bigger strategy.


Before starting your plan, it is important that you 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 that you want to be doing. You can then build out 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 which will walk you through the steps that you need to follow to define and implement your plan. We can it the Six-Step To Get Into Nuclear. The 6-steps are:

  1. Know who you are

  2. Know what you want

  3. Know the business

  4. Know the skills

  5. Know the people

  6. Be known

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 out or making a late career change. Feel free to jump in an 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 make an impact on 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
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