Getting Into Nuclear Engineering in the UK| Originally published at

How to Become a Nuclear Engineer — Nuclear Engineer Career

How to Become a Nuclear Engineer: Career Path Guide

What is a Nuclear Engineer?

  • Work to design systems and equipment that produce energy for business and domestic use
  • Perform academic research in the field of nuclear engineering or instruct university classes in this area
  • Conduct research for the diagnosis and treatment of disease in medicine
  • Develop and build nuclear-powered submarines for the Navy
  • health and safety specialist;
  • instrumentation and control engineer;
  • process engineer;
  • project manager;
  • quality engineer;
  • reactor operator.
Nuclear Engineering Jobs
  • Planning and conducting nuclear research in order to make new discoveries
  • Planning and conducting nuclear research to test, prove or modify known nuclear theories concerning the release, control and utilization of nuclear energy
  • Planning, designing and developing nuclear equipment such as reactor cores, radiation shielding and associated instrumentation and control mechanisms
  • Preparing technical reports based on knowledge obtained during research and development activities
  • Studying the nuclear fuel cycle to determine most efficient uses of nuclear material and safest means of nuclear waste disposal
  • Keep abreast of developments and changes in the nuclear energy field by reading technical journals and by independent study and research
  • Monitoring nuclear tests and examine operations of facilities which process or utilize radioactive or fissionable material to ensure efficient functioning and conformity with safety specifications, regulations, and laws
  • understand the science behind how nuclear facilities work;
  • analyse energy transmission, conversion and storage systems;
  • solve design or operational problems with reactor cores and shielding, hydraulic and electrical systems, and complex instrumentation, such as monitoring equipment;
  • manage staff and budgets for complex design, construction, maintenance, expansion, safety and decommissioning projects;
  • always keep the safety of people and the environment in mind, cooperate with local emergency services, and work with national, EU and international industry regulatory bodies;
  • be aware of and address security concerns regarding the use, transport, storage and disposal of radioactive materials;
  • write reports, project plans and other documents that provide information about new facilities, existing processes, problems and solutions, and safety exercises for regulators, energy firms, and co-workers in facility construction and management;
  • discuss engineering issues with people from other fields, such as construction professionals, power grid managers and government officials;
  • plan and assist with the safe decommissioning of facilities that have reached the end of their lifespan, including temporary and long-term disposal of high-hazard radioactive material.

What you’ll do

  • designing and building new plants and equipment
  • monitoring and measuring radiation levels
  • carrying out maintenance work
  • making sure that the plant structure meets legal requirements
  • being responsible for security and safety
  • supervising power station technicians
  • planning safe methods of nuclear waste disposal
  • industrial or academic research and development
  • diagnosing and treating disease in medicine
  • developing and building nuclear-powered submarines
  • Engineering and energy consulting firms
  • Universities and colleges
  • Federal, state and provincial government departments
  • Private and public research facilities
  • Electric power generation, transmission and distribution companies
  • Manufacturing and other private sector firms
  • Resource and high technology industries (such as the telecommunications, microelectronics, and aerospace industries)

The Entry requirements

  • chemical engineering
  • electrical engineering
  • maths
  • mechanical engineering
  • physics

The Skills required

  • problem-solving and analytical skills
  • planning and organisational ability
  • the ability to manage projects, budgets and people
  • excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • A keen interest in science and technology
  • Excellent mathematical and computer skills
  • The ability to manage projects, budgets and people
  • The ability to visualize complex processes
  • The ability to be very precise in work and calculations
  • Creativity and persistence in work activities
  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • Respect for safety and the environment
  • Able to order information logically and clearly so others can follow their information and instructions
  • Able to work effectively with mechanical engineers and electrical engineers
  • Starter: £24,000 to £29,000
  • Experienced: £30,000 to £50,000
  • Highly Experienced: £55,000 to £70,000

Longer Term Career path and progression

Finally: What to expect

  • Your role could be based in an office, a power station, or involve supervising and checking work on construction sites when facilities are being built or closed.
  • Nuclear science and technology is always moving forward, which can be exciting.
  • Some people have negative opinions about the nuclear industry. You can expect to have to explain or defend what you do at times.
  • There are many opportunities to gain new skills and deeper insights into key issues. If you use these chances, it can help you move up to more interesting and better paid posts.
  • Until recently, the nuclear industry, like other engineering fields, was mostly male and white. This is changing, and major companies in the field are very proactive about recruiting women and minorities. Initiatives are in place such as Women in Nuclear UK and EDF Energy’s Diversity and Inclusion policy.
  • Currently, nuclear energy is a crucial part of the world’s energy system. This means you will have a good level of job security.
  • There are also opportunities to work abroad as many major companies operate internationally.
  • You’ll need to dress appropriately for your role, which could range from office casual to formal (for meetings with major partners) to safety gear when on-site.




Husband, Dad, Programme Manager in the Nuclear Industry | ex-pro rugby player, 4x Ironman finisher, ex-Bank Manager |

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Andrew Crabtree

Andrew Crabtree

Husband, Dad, Programme Manager in the Nuclear Industry | ex-pro rugby player, 4x Ironman finisher, ex-Bank Manager |

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