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I want to work in ..... Energy: Oil, Nuclear Power & Utilities.

Energy and Utilities

General Information



Renewable energy

Investment in renewable energy is increasing in the UK and many other countries, and there are good opportunities for new graduates in this field. Most of the big employers are oil and gas companies who are diversifying into this area. This sector will grow as it becomes increasingly essential to develop clean ways of generating energy and better, more efficient ways of using it. There is a growing solar power industry in the UK and most power companies are investing in research to develop energy resources for the future.

Go vegetarian to stop global warming!

According to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the meat in our diets causes more greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide to enter the atmosphere than either transportation or industry. The most powerful step we can take as individuals to avert global warming is to go vegetarian.

The UK is the windiest place in Europe, so is the ideal location for wind energy jobs. From 2008 to 2010 wind energy full time employees rose by 91%, according to a report by Renewable UK. Of the 10,800 employees working in the sectors, 56%, are with large-scale onshore wind, 29% in offshore wind, and 8% in small-scale wind with the same proportion in wave and tidal energy.

Also see our Environmental Careers Page for Recycling, Carbon management, Energy management, Waste management, Urban regeneration and Sustainability Careers.

Fallout: from army life to civvie street The Guardian
Ex-serviceman Joey Callaghan recalls the difficulties of adapting to life as a civvie and why he chose a career in the wind industry

Is the sun rising on an African solar revolution?


Nuclear power

Nuclear energy jobs are found in power stations, hospitals and defence establishments. Nuclear energy currently accounts for about 15% of our energy production and this is likely to increase as we try to reduce our carbon emissions. We are in the top ten nuclear energy generators in the world.

Positives of working in the nuclear industry

Negatives of working in the industry

Prospects Profile of Nuclear Engineer

Reprocessing nuclear waste

Twenty percent of the nuclear staff in the UK are involved in reprocessing, but this will shrink as Government policy is at present for long term storage of spent waste rather than reprocessing. Policy may well eventually change again as prices of radioactive materials rise due to increasing worldwide demand due to countries such as China and India increasing their number of nuclear power stations, making reprocessing more economical. There are also jobs in the safe transport of nuclear waste. Sellafield reprocesses UK nuclear waste.

Building new nuclear power stations

Eight new nuclear power stations are likely to be built in the UK. With EDF looking to build four European Pressurised Reactors. Building new reactors is very highly regulated to ensure safety and the work can be very complex. There are some jobs in design, but most of this is carried out in France and the US. The main jobs for physicists are in operating the plants and in safety monitoring.

Decommissioning and waste management

Decommissioning redundant nuclear power stations is a long and complex process and will need to continue for at least a century in the UK. This area currently employs about half the staff working in the Uk nuclear industry You need to have a strong technical background and good problem solving skills, allied with communication skills and an appreciation of safety issues.

Waste management involves the safe and secure underground storage of spent nuclear fuel and this is managed by the Radioactive Waste Management Directorate of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. This work requires geologists, engineers and physicists.

Postgraduate study

There are a number of MSc's in Nuclear Physics including at Imperial College, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham Universities. These can be expensive but would increase your chances of entering the industry.


Radiation protection

This is a health and safety role and involves protection of people and the environment from the effects of radiation. There is a strong demand for radiation protection practitioners. As old nuclear reactors are being decommissioned and new ones are being built, radiation protection can offer a job for life. Most entrants have a degree in physics, chemistry or biology. MSc's in radiation protection are run at some universities such as the Surrey MSc in Radiation and Environmental Protection.

There are many opportunities in Health Physics and safety case writing. Many vacancies are not with the electricity generating companies but with related consultances such as Atkins, SERCO, AWE, UKAEA, NUVIA and GE Healthcare.

Jobs involve radiation protection adviser, health physicist, nuclear medicine and medical physics, research, nuclear engineering, waste management, equipment development and many other areas.

Nuclear Power Recruiters


Last fully updated 2017

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