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Nuclear engineer

Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£28,000 Starter


£58,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Nuclear engineer

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

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

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.

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 get details about working in the the nuclear industry through:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

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

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

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Nuclear engineer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

ECITB L3 Dip in Nuclear Engineering & Science - FCFJ

  • Start date: 08 October 2024
  • Location: Bridgwater

Engineering HNC - Level 4

  • Start date: 01 August 2024
  • Location: Lancaster

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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