The Vetting Requirements of the UK Nuclear Industry

Updated: Jan 14


The vetting process is an essential requirement of the nuclear industry

Everyone working within the UK Nuclear Industry needs to pass a level of security vetting dependant upon the role, type and location of the works. There are three main levels of 'nuclear clearance' that you should be aware of:

  • Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

  • Security Check (SC)

  • Developed Vetting (DV)

These UK security clearance levels are expended below from wikipedia:


BPSS - Baseline Personnel Security Standard

The Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) checks are usually performed when a person is recruited.

"All those with access to government assets are subject on recruitment to the requirements of the Baseline Personnel Security Standard. This includes all applicants for employment in the civil service and armed forces and applies to both permanent and temporary staff and private sector employees working on government contracts, with access to government assets.


The Baseline Standard security clearance UK requires the verification of the following four elements:

  1. Identity

  2. Employment history (past three years)

  3. Nationality and Immigration Status

  4. Criminal record (unspent convictions only)

BPSS clearance

  • Allows access to UK OFFICIAL assets and occasional access to UK SECRET assets

  • Is required to work in areas where SECRET and TOP SECRET information may be overheard

  • Allows individuals who require it, access to the Public Services Network (PSN).



SC - Security Check

A Security Check (SC) is the most widely held level of security clearance. It is required for posts involving regular and uncontrolled access to 'SECRET' (and below) assets and/or occasional, supervised access to TOP SECRET assets and for individuals who:

  • While not in such posts, will be in a position to directly or indirectly bring about the same degree of damage.

  • Will have sufficient knowledge to obtain a comprehensive picture of a SECRET plan, policy or project.

  • Are being considered for employment where it would not be possible to make reasonable career progress without security clearance for access to SECRET assets.

  • Require access to certain levels of classified material originating from another country or international organisation.

The process for SC security clearance requirements includes:

  • Successful completion of the Baseline Personnel Security Standard.

  • Completion, by the individual, of a Security Questionnaire.

  • A departmental/company records check which will include e.g. personal files, staff reports, sick leave returns and security records.

  • A check of both spent and unspent criminal records.

  • A check of credit and financial history with a credit reference agency.

  • A check of Security Service (MI5) records.

  • It may also include an interview.

Checks may extend to third parties included on the security questionnaire.

An SC security clearance must be formally reviewed after 10 years (7 years for non-List X contractors) or at any time up to that point at the discretion of the vetting authority. After this time SC clearance requirements are re-enforced.

DV - Developed Vetting

DV is the most detailed and comprehensive form of security clearance in UK government. It is needed for posts that require individuals to have frequent and uncontrolled access to TOP SECRET assets or require any access to TOP SECRET codeword material. And for individuals who:

  • While not in such posts, will be in a position to directly or indirectly bring about the same degree of damage.

  • Require frequent and uncontrolled access to Category 1 nuclear material.

  • Require access to certain levels of classified material originating from another country or international organisation.

The process for DV clearance includes:

  • Successful completion of the Baseline Personnel Security Standard.

  • Completion, by the individual, of a Security Questionnaire, a DV Supplement and Financial Questionnaire.

  • A departmental/company records check which will include personal files, staff reports, sick leave returns and security records.

  • A check of both spent and unspent criminal records.

  • A check of credit and financial history with a credit reference agency.

  • A check of Security Service (MI5) records.

  • A full review of personal finances.

  • A detailed interview conducted by a trained Investigating Officer.

  • Further enquiries, including interviews with referees conducted by a trained Investigating Officer.

A DV security clearance must be reviewed every 7 years or at any time up to those points at the discretion of the vetting authority to maintain the security clearance in the UK.


A great source of further information and available jobs can be found at securityclearedjobs.co.uk particularly their page Get Security Cleared.


PS - a great rule of thumb when considering if would be eligible to work in the nuclear industry is if you have a mortgage, or believe you would have the ability to get a mortgage should have no trouble meeting the minimum vetting requirements.


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