Engineering design

Nuclear engineer

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

Annual Salary

£24,000 to £70,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 3% more Nuclear engineer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll produce energy for business and domestic use.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • 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

You could also 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’ll need an HNC, HND, foundation degree or degree in a relevant scientific or technical subject, like:

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

You could also go on a graduate training scheme. 

The Nuclear Industry Association has more information on becoming a nuclear engineer.

For some jobs in the nuclear industry you may need to pass security checks.

£24,000 to £70,000

Starter salary: £24,000 to £29,000

Experienced salary: £30,000 to £50,000

These figures are a guide.


In processing and power stations you’ll work a 7-day shift system that may include weekends, evenings and nights. 

In research and development you’ll usually work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

You’ll work in laboratories, control rooms or offices. 

You’ll wear protective clothing when dealing with radioactive material.

You could move into research, or university teaching. You could also work freelance.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • problem-solving and analytical skills
  • planning and organisational ability
  • the ability to manage projects, budgets and people
  • excellent spoken and written communication skills
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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