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Insights Goodbye, fossil fuels. Hello, nuclear renaissance!

Hello. My name is Joe, and I'm a senior nuclear safety engineer at AtkinsRéalis. I joined the organization as a graduate mechanical engineer in 2011. After a few years, I transitioned from mechanical engineering to a more nuclear safety-focused role, better aligning with my interests and long-term career aspirations.

Photo of Joe smiling towards the camera

"Since joining AtkinsRéalis, I've worked for clients across the nuclear industry, modifying and revising existing facility safety cases and developing new facility concepts in the UK and abroad."

I joined six months after the Fukushima nuclear accident.

This rightly led to a renewed focus within the industry on enhancing the safety and resilience of existing nuclear facilities. It also led to major challenges in perception and renewed skepticism around the viability of nuclear power.

Twelve years on, it's an exciting time to work in nuclear.

After a few false dawns, the long-promised nuclear renaissance has finally arrived, and there is real momentum building for the new nuclear power in the UK. AtkinsRéalis has positioned itself well to support numerous clients working to deliver large-scale and small modular reactor projects. This gives our staff a great variety of project opportunities. More of my colleagues are working with advanced reactors and fusion technologies, which bring fantastic challenges.

AtkinsRéalis secondment experience

Secondment roles are often client-facing and site-based. These roles provide a great opportunity for greater insight into the challenges our clients are facing and how we can deliver the best results for them. When working on site you can also get an opportunity to see how the work we do in safety has an impact in the real world. 

During my time with AtkinsRéalis, I've worked in a variety of project and secondment roles. These have varied from full-time and on-site but based locally—to two or three days a week, with the client requiring overnight stays away from home - to fully remote.

We focus on keeping each other connected.

In some of these roles, I've been part of a team with several other embedded secondees from AtkinsRéalis. In others I've been the only one from the organization. In all cases, I've always felt well looked after both within the client organization and with AtkinsRéalis. We have a real focus, particularly with junior grades, on ensuring colleagues stay in touch.

"I've only ever worked for AtkinsRéalis. But, when I talk to colleagues who have worked elsewhere, they are often impressed with the sense of community within our team here."

Business as usual is not viable in the energy sector

We have no choice but to engineer a better future. The nuclear industry has the potential to play a vital role in delivering energy security and supporting the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels. If we as a society are going to increase our dependence on nuclear power, we must continue to innovate to deliver improved safety and reliability while minimizing environmental impact and developing credible long-term strategies for decommissioning and waste storage.

"I've really enjoyed taking the knowledge and experience from each project I've worked on and applying it to new challenges."

The most rewarding aspect of my job

At AtkinsRéalis, #MakeItBrilliant is about celebrating what makes us proud and happy to work here. I am responsible for supporting the training and development of junior staff. We have quite a young team of highly capable and enthusiastic engineers and scientists from diverse technical and educational backgrounds, all on their own personal career journeys. I really enjoy helping them progress in the early stages of their careers.

Find a role with us today in nuclear safety.