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New energy

Nuclear engineer

Nuclear engineers are responsible for the safe running of nuclear power stations.

Annual Salary

£25,000 to £58,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on shifts

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Nuclear engineer jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • design and build new plants and equipment
  • monitor and measure radiation levels
  • carry out maintenance work
  • make sure that the plant structure meets legal requirements
  • be responsible for security and safety
  • supervise power station technicians
  • plan safe methods of nuclear waste disposal

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work at a power station, in a laboratory, in an office or in a control room.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a graduate training scheme
University

You can do a degree in a subject like:

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

Some employers will expect you to have a relevant postgraduate qualification.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could get into the industry through a nuclear scientist and nuclear engineer degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Other routes

You may be able to start on a graduate training scheme, like Nuclear Graduates, run by nuclear industry employers.

You'll normally need a degree in a science or engineering subject to apply for a place.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

You may need to relocate for work, as many power stations are in remote areas.

Further information

You can find details about careers in the the nuclear industry through Cogent.

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You could gain skills to move into project management for the nuclear industry through a Project controls professional, degree apprenticeship.

You could use your knowledge of nuclear technology in other areas, like:industrial or academic research and development; diagnosing and treating disease in medicine; developing and building nuclear-powered submarines

You could become a freelance consultant.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • design skills and knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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