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New energy

Nuclear engineer Green Job

Nuclear engineers design and build technology used in areas like power generation, healthcare and defence.

Annual Salary

£28,000 to £58,000

Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

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

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Nuclear engineer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a nuclear engineer, you might:

  • design and build new nuclear plants and equipment
  • monitor radiation levels
  • plan and carry out maintenance work
  • help to decommission old power stations
  • research ways to dispose of nuclear waste
  • design medical equipment that uses nuclear technology
  • work on nuclear propulsions systems for ships and submarines

Possible green job

This job could help the environment.

For a nuclear engineer to be a green job, you could:

  • build power plants to help reduce greenhouse gasses
  • design energy efficient medical scanners and imaging equipment
  • work on research into nuclear fusion that has the potential to produce large amounts of cleaner energy

Find out more about green careers

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

You can do a degree in a subject like:

  • nuclear engineering
  • chemical engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • maths
  • physics with nuclear technology
  • materials and nuclear engineering

You can find universities offering nuclear related courses through the Nuclear Institute.

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

You may be able to apply for a place on an apprenticeship, such as:

  • Nuclear Scientist and Nuclear Engineer Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship
  • Nuclear Reactor Desk Engineer Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship

These take around 3 years to complete.

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 can start on a 2-year graduate training scheme called Nuclear Graduates, which is run by nuclear industry employers.

On the scheme, you'll receive professional development training in different areas of the nuclear industry.

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 Britain's nuclear power stations are spread around the country. This includes ones in operation, those being decommissioned and proposed new sites.

You can find employers in each part of the country on the Nuclear Industry Association jobs map.

Further information

You can find details about careers in the the nuclear industry through Cogent and the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

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With skills and experience, you could become:an operations engineer, managing a technical team during the building and running of a power plant; a nuclear inspector, regulating the storage and disposal of radioactive waste; a nuclear safety engineer, responsible for making sure all on-site safety requirements are met; a clinical engineer, researching ways to improve nuclear medicine used in the treatment of disease

You could also work as a freelance engineering consultant.

How does this job help to address the impacts of climate change and protect wildlife and nature in the West of England?

Nuclear Engineers are needed to work at Hinkley Point C on the generation on low carbon nuclear energy in the West of England.

Examples of post-16 courses you could study at local schools or colleges

  • Maths, Sciences A-levels
  • T Level Engineering and Manufacturing 

Click here to find a local provider

Apprenticeships you may be able to take with local employers

  • Level 2 Engineering and Nuclear Operative
  • Level 3 Engineering
  • Level 5 Nuclear Technician
  • Level 6 Nuclear Engineer

Click here to search for a local apprenticeship

Examples of post-18 courses you could study at local higher education providers

Click here to search for other university courses

For more information on the different routes you can take to get into working as a nuclear engineer, take a look at the 'Routes into this job' section above. 

Click here for an explanation of the different course and apprenticeship levels.

Local employers 

  • EDF
  • Atkins

For more local employment opportunities see the 'Live job vacancies by region' section above.

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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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