Today nuclear energy is vital energy source to the world. Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. Many of these engineers find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials—for example, in equipment used in medical diagnosis and treatment. Many others specialize in the development of nuclear power sources for ships or spacecraft. You’ll be working with cutting-edge technology in multi-disciplinary teams with plenty of room for advancement.
Job descriptions detail specific roles for designing innovative systems from scratch, maintaining existing systems or problem-solving ways to improve the efficiency, stability, safety and sustainability of nuclear power plants. Decommissioning facilities is also an important task, as is planning and carrying out safety procedures for the transport, storage and disposal of the radioactive material used in nuclear plants. Based on the role, you might work in an office, power station, or be involved in supervising construction sites when facilities are being built or closed.
There are various specializations, such as – health and safety specialist, instrumentation and control engineer, process engineer, project manager, quality engineer, or reactor operator.
Student Case Studies
Graduate trainee: £20,000 and £28,000. Experienced nuclear engineers can earn from £30,000 to £65,000 or more.
Office/lab based: 9am to 5pm work schedules. Field based: shifts on a seven-day rota, including weekends, evenings and nights.
According to the Nuclear Institute, the industry employs 65,000 people and generates 20% of all energy used in the UK.
Skills Valued by Employers
• Analytical skills for understanding complex operational and monitoring systems
• Problem-solving and reasoning skills for dealing with construction issues or repairs
• Organizational and financial planning skills, people management, teamwork and time management
• Strong aptitude in maths and numeracy
• Able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or handheld device
• Knowledge of physics, engineering science and technology
• Design skills
• Attention to detail
• A willingness to keep up with fast-moving developments in science and technology
• Excellent communication skills to address the general public about the nuclear industry or safety issues.