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

What does a nuclear engineer do?

Nuclear engineers work in the nuclear industry, producing energy for business and domestic use. The nuclear industry supplies electricity to the UK through nuclear power plants. Nuclear engineers help maintain and develop these plants and the electricity supply. Duties could include:

  • designing and building new plants and equipment
  • monitoring and measuring radiation levels
  • carrying out maintenance work
  • making sure the plant structure complies with legislation
  • being responsible for security and safety
  • supervising power-station technicians
  • planning safe methods of disposing of nuclear waste

To become a nuclear engineer, you will need a HNC/HND, foundation degree or degree. Some employers also look for postgraduate qualifications. There is a small number of university courses specific to nuclear engineering and nuclear decommissioning. You can also move into this career with a scientific or technical subject such as:

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

What do I need to do to become a nuclear engineer?

If you are interested in science and technology, and you are good at analysing and solving problems, this could be the career for you. Organisational and planning skills will be needed in this job. You’ll also need to be good at maths and using computers.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Financial planning
  • IT
  • Numeracy
  • Organisation
  • People management
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Academic route

  • Five GCSEs (A-C)
  • Three A levels, including maths and a science subject

Related subjects

  • History
  • Physics

Essential qualifications

  • HNC/HND, foundation degree or degree

Desirable qualifications

  • Postgraduate qualifications

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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