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Nuclear science can cover a wide range of specific industries and professions. As an industry it fits in as part of the broader science-based sector also including pharmaceuticals, chemicals and energy sources. With 20% of the UK’s electricity being sourced from nuclear power, 19 generation reactors and 15 nuclear-powered submarines in action, there is still great demand for nuclear engineers.
Nuclear engineers can use their skills to specialise in any of the different departments of nuclear science. Some of the work is research-based whilst other areas focus more on analysis and development.
The different parts of the nuclear industry include:
Regardless of the area a nuclear engineer works in, there are certain tasks and responsibilities that remain more or less the same across the sector. Nuclear science is complex and exact, there is advanced technology that needs to be utilised and operated, and many strict health and safety regulations to follow.
Typical tasks of any nuclear engineer may include some of the following:
Each specific role can have very particular duties, responsibilities and entry requirements. Cogent is the sector skills council for the nuclear industry, and has a very helpful and detailed selection of job roles within each sector. For more in-depth job descriptions within the nuclear sector please visit Cogent’s Career Pathways.
There has been an increase in demand for nuclear engineers, particularly in the decommissioning and research areas of the industry. Working hours and conditions also vary between different sectors.