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Going nuclear?

Nuclear power is firmly back on the map as the UK charts a course towards a secure, low carbon future energy supply. The government’s new build strategy has identified eight sites for possible development, and the nuclear supply chain is gearing up to fulfil a programme that could create up to 30,000 new jobs, according to research by Cogent Sector Skills Council.

The UK is also home to world-class facilities and expertise in cutting edge fields such as nuclear fusion technology, which has significant longer term potential.

All the above ensures that the nuclear sector offers attractive career opportunities for engineering professionals, as a snapshot of recruitment activity currently underway confirms.

EDF Energy, the UK’s largest nuclear operator and one of the nation’s biggest electricity suppliers, is currently looking for people to fill a range of roles spanning disciplines including mechanical, electrical, civil and C&I engineering, as well as project and programme management. Opportunities also include power station technical support, nuclear safety engineering, planning and training.

A subsidiary of the EDF Group, one of the largest energy companies in Europe, EDF Energy includes a Nuclear New Build business spearheading the construction of a new generation of nuclear power stations for the UK. The company plans to build four new nuclear plants.

People joining the Nuclear New Build business will be at the forefront of helping to achieve its key project milestones, including its aim to have the first reactor operational in 2018. They may be based at the head office in London, in Barnwood, Gloucestershire, or in the future at one of the two proposed new build sites, Hinkley Point in Somerset or Sizewell in Suffolk.

The world's largest fusion facility

Culham’s Joint European Torus (JET): The world’s largest fusion facility

EDF Energy is also recruiting for its Existing Nuclear business, providing essential support to its current nuclear fleet. New employees could be based at any of EDF Energy’s eight operational nuclear power stations around the UK, or work as part of the Central Engineering Support Function based either at Barnwood in Gloucestershire or East Kilbride, Lanarkshire. 

In both cases, EDF Energy is committed to first class training for new employees and career development in an industry of vital strategic importance to the UK’s low-carbon energy future.  Excellent salary and benefits packages, and the potential to forge an international career through the wider EDF Group are also on offer. Though candidates will ideally have experience within the nuclear sector, EDF Energy also encourages applications from suitably qualified people from a wide range of industries.

Looking to the future, engineers at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) have a unique opportunity to shape the development of a world-changing technology that could offer an inexhaustible supply of energy without pollution or global warming.

As the UK’s national fusion laboratory, CCFE is a global leader in demonstrating nuclear fusion as an economically viable energy source. It is now shifting its focus towards applied development of a prototype fusion power plant while continuing to play a significant role in fusion research.

CCFE is looking for people with a wide range of engineering skills to help it build its capability in the key fusion technologies needed for a power plant. While prior fusion experience is not essential, CCFE said a proven track record of working with complex mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and assemblies would be an advantage.

People joining the Oxfordshire facility are likely, for example, to find themselves working on the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) experiment, the centerpiece of the UK’s fusion programme.

CCFE has started a major machine upgrade for MAST that will be key to helping the development of future machines, not least the ground-breaking international ITER experiment, which aims to construct the largest ever magnetic confinement fusion device and test technologies at reactor scale for the first time.

CCFE is playing a major role in Europe’s contribution to ITER, supporting the development of detailed designs for the additional plasma heating systems, remote maintenance and others.

CCFE also operates the Joint European Torus, the world’s largest fusion facility, allowing Culham to claim fusion engineering capabilities that are second to none.

Employees will benefit from extensive training and career development programmes that recognise the status of people as its greatest asset, said CCFE. These include accredited apprentice and graduate training schemes that help younger staff members to develop into senior roles. The employee benefits package includes a final salary pension.

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