THE UK NUCLEAR INDUSTRY
The nuclear industry is, as you would imagine, a complex arena encompassing many projects within many geographical locations and covering many types of work from science labs, to design houses, to construction sites, to the control room of a reactor core, to post operations clean out (POCO). However, at GetIntoNuclear we try to make things simple by splitting the industry into three main sectors those being Defence, Energy and Decommissioning.
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 is a government agency which manages four Site Licence Companies (SLCs) directly; those being Sellafield Ltd, Magnox Ltd, Low Level Waste Repository Ltd (LLWR) and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) which cover the majority of the UK decommissioning projects - the largest of which by some way being Sellafield in Seascale, 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 NDA's website.
Defence - managed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) the nuclear defence sector encompasses work on the UK's nuclear deterrent, the existing fleet, and more recently the new fleet, of nuclear powered submarines (or boats as they are designated).
The nuclear defence sector is one the most controversial and difficult to get into - particularly with the additional vetting requirements. However, this sector also provides the opportunity to work on some of 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 the management of EDF Energy. Many of these plants are undergoing Plant Life Extensions (PLEX) to manage the gap between the end of operation of the exisitng fleet and the hot topic in the UK at the moment the Nuclear New Build (NNB) plans.
The NNB programme has been much debated and documented over recent years and is on the cusp of entering an exciting time once each of the three proposed reactor technologies has been given the go ahead.