This article will provide a brief overview of the three main sectors of the nuclear industry with links to further information on each of them.
The nuclear industry is as you would imagine a complex arena encompassing many projects within many geographical areas and areas of work from the science labs, to design houses, to construction sites, to operating a reactor core to post operations clean out. However, at GetIntoNuclear we try to make things simple by splitting the industry into three main sectors those being Decommissioning, Defence and Energy.
Decommissioning - in it's simplest terms encompasses the removal of and ultimate safe long term storage of the UK's nuclear waste from various sources. The major decommissioning projects are managed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which are a government agency and manage their four direct Site Licence Companies (SLCs) being Sellafield Ltd, Magnox Ltd, Low Level Waste Repository Ltd (LLWR) and Doureay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) which cover the majority of the UK decommissioning projects - the largest of which by some way being Sellafield in Seascape, Cumbria. The NDA also manages Springfield Fuel Ltd via Westinghouse as Parent Body Organisation (PBO) and Capenhurst Nuclear Services via URENCO as PBO. A great source to explain all of this can be found at the About Page on the NDAs website.
Defence - managed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) the nuclear defence sector encompasses work on the existing fleet of nuclear powered and nuclear deterrent carrying boats and more recently work on the new fleet of nuclear boats which are currently in production. The nuclear defence sector is one of the most controversial and difficult to get into - particularly with the additional vetting requirements but is also provides the opportunity to work on the most challenging and exciting projects happening across the world at this moment in time. Big recruiters in this industry include the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems.
Energy - many people do not know or appreciate that the UK has 15 nuclear power plants already in operation and generating electricity under management of EDF Energy in the UK at this moment in time. Many of these plants are undergoing Plant Life Extensions (PLEX) to manage the gap between the end of operation of the existing fleet and the hot topic in the UK at the moment the Nuclear New Build (NNB) plans. The NNB programme has been must debated and documented over recent years and is on the cusp of entering a exciting in time once each of the three reactor technologies has been given the go ahead.