The Vetting Requirements of the UK Nuclear Industry

Updated: Mar 23


The vetting process is an essential requirement of the nuclear industry

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

  • Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

  • Security Check (SC)

  • Developed Vetting (DV)



We have expanded upon the UK security clearance levels below:


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 to the Baseline Personnel Security Standard requirements. BPSS includes all applicants for employment in the civil service, armed forces and applies to both permanent and temporary staff. There is also a need for BPSS for private-sector employees working on government contracts and government assets access.


The Baseline Standard Security Clearance in the 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 a person may overhear SECRET or TOP SECRET information.

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



SC - Security Check

A Security Check (SC) is the most widely held level of security clearance. There is a requirement for SC for posts involving regular and uncontrolled access to 'SECRET' (and below) assets and occasional supervised access to TOP SECRET assets.


There is a requirement for SC for individuals who:

  • While not in such posts, they will 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 SECRET assets access.

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

The process for SC security clearance includes:

  • Successful completion of the Baseline Personnel Security Standard.

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

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

  • A check of both spent and unspent criminal records.

  • A credit check of 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.


The vetting authority must formally review the SC security of staff after ten years (seven years for non-list X contractors) or at any time up to that point at their discretion. After this time, there is a requirement to re-enforce SC clearance.

DV - Developed Vetting

Developed Vetting is the most detailed and comprehensive form of security clearance in the UK government. There is a demand for DV 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, they will 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 will include personal files, staff reports, sick leave returns and security records.

  • A check of both spent and unspent criminal records.

  • A credit check of 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.

The vetting authority must review DV security clearance every seven years or up to those points at the discretion of the vetting authority to maintain the UK's security clearance.


You can find a great source of further information and find available jobs at securityclearedjobs.co.uk, particularly their page Get Security Cleared.


PS - a great rule of thumb when considering if you 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. If this is so, then you should have no trouble meeting the minimum vetting requirements.


If you feel that Security Clearance isn't going to be a problem, make sure you check out how we can help you get into the nuclear industry:


We are here to change the perceptions of the nuclear industry in the UK.

Nuclear has the means to make the UK safe, secure, and powered while ensuring a carbon-free future for generations to come.


We aim to achieve this by providing you with the means to tell your story and raise your profile in the sector, dispelling the myths and making the industry more attractive to the next generation and sector jumpers.


What is fun about our business is that we constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways to achieve our goal.

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