Nuclear Engineer

Job Description:

Nuclear engineers make sure nuclear power stations run safely and effectively.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

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 (leadership skills)
  • 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:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • design skills and knowledge (creativity)
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You’ll need an Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, 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.

In the UK, 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.

Working Hours and Environment:

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.

Career Path & Progression:

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