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Post Doctorate Scheme 2024 - Reactor Physicist

Job Introduction

NNL is where your understanding of reactors fuels the nation. As part of our Fuel Reactor & Reprocessing capability, you’ll play a vital role in developing the UK fuel cycle in line with advances in new technology and new processes. As old reactors reach the end of their lifespan, we need experts like you, with the technical skills to virtually model scenarios that not only enable us to explore new ways of managing the inputs and outputs of reactors, but also pave the way for the implementation of smaller, cleaner revolutionary new reactors. This is a place where you can use your knowledge and expertise to do long term meaningful work for years to come. 

As the national laboratory for nuclear fission in the UK, we are harnessing nuclear science to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. 

The Nuclear & Reactor Physics team are looking for a reactor physicist, or scientist, with a particular interest in supporting applied reactor physics projects, undertaking neutronics modelling and working on nuclear new build, including Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANT), Small Modular Reactors (SMR) and Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR). 

The role provides the opportunity to develop a well-rounded understanding of reactor technology from design to licensing and operability, combined with an understanding of techniques that are used to design and investigate such properties. The combination of these areas supports the development of programmes to assure the safe operation of current and future reactors.

To join the NNL Post Doctorate programme you will have a PhD in one of the following areas, Physics, Applied Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Energy or AI / Computer Science. A PhD in Reactor Physics, Nuclear Engineering would be advantageous. 

You will have the right to work in the UK and be able to achieve SC level security clearance (this includes but is not limited to identity, employment, financial and criminal record checks plus 5 years’ worth of UK residency).

Role Responsibility

We are developing the next generation of technical experts. Not only will you receive the opportunity to work on challenging and exciting projects, but you’ll continually learn from skilled and knowledgeable industry experts who are leaders in their field. We will help you become everything you can be, by challenging, stretching, and pushing you to your limits while supporting you every step of the way.

In this role you will work closely with specialists in the Nuclear & Reactor Physics team, who will provide mentoring and encourage development in skills and knowledge. 

Your responsibilities will include: 

  • Providing technical support to subject matter experts primarily in the area of new build reactor technology such as Light Water Reactors (LWR), SMR, AMR, ANT and other customer projects ensuring the delivery of high-quality outputsCarrying out designated work packages to standards of safety, cost, quality and time adhering to NNL’s values and behaviours and maintain a high nuclear professionalism standard
  • Developing experience in a variety of techniques and coding languages in support of the NNL science and technology programme by contributing to development of novel methods. These activities range from advancing the use of well-established techniques, to developing new methods
  • Application of computer modelling codes relating to reactors, nuclear physics, and safety as well as the opportunity to gain sufficient experience in order to support maintenance and development of such codes
  • Technical authoring, review and assessment of documents relating to reactors, nuclear physics, or fuel performance. 
  • Producing accurate records of work carried out including technical reports and external peer reviewed publications
  • Keeping abreast of developments in reactor physics, applying them to designated work packages

NNL recognises that academia and industry are very different environments, our Postdoctoral Development Scheme will smooth the transition whilst supporting you as you take your first steps towards becoming a Subject Matter Expert.

Your two-year scheme will provide the opportunity to develop your technical knowledge and skills whilst providing you with an insight into NNL’s strategy and direction. You will receive an overview of how the company operates and delivers its projects. 

You will undertake personal development through training aligned to your personal development plan and understand your strengths, weaknesses, and behaviours. You will receive a personal budget to support your development within your field of expertise. 

From day one you’ll have a role in a technical team involved in delivering real customer projects. You will have direct sight of the value that your skills and knowledge have to our industry and by extension our society. The Postdoctoral Development Scheme runs alongside your role, providing you the space and skills to develop in a commercial environment whilst helping you decide how to advance your technical expertise.

Our two-year programme is designed to give you:

  • An introduction to NNL so you understand where we sit in the wider context of the nuclear industry and how we work
  • An introduction to the technical expertise at the core of our business so you understand how your expertise interrelates with our wider technical portfolio
  • A clear pathway of technical development
  • Commercial awareness of the Business Operations of NNL
  • Opportunity to network with mid-career professionals and experts
  • Mentoring to achieve chartered status with your chosen professional body
  • A choice of development activities tailored to you and your career aspirations
  • Membership of a cohort of early career professionals to provide support in developing within the company
  • The support of a dedicated early careers team and our strong, thriving early careers community.

As part of the selection process for the Post Doctorate programme you will complete a Technical Interview against the skills and competencies required for this role. 

You will be based at Warrington or Preston. 

About the Company

NNL is an incredible place to work. A place where people do things that have never been done before. A place where people push boundaries to further themselves, the business, and society as a whole.

This is a place where personal and professional opportunities are limitless. If you want to change the world, if you want to tackle climate change, if you want to help advance medical science, if you want to help put things in space, if you want to answer the big questions, if you want to work with extraordinary materials, if you want to meet great people, learn new skills, challenge yourself, work flexibly, and build a long successful career with the power to make a real impact… you can do it all here.

NNL has a vision for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity (ED&I) where NNL aims to be an inclusive workplace that attracts diverse talent through transparent and equal policies and procedures. We want you and the diverse mix of people that we employ, customers that we service, and stakeholders that we influence to feel valued. We encourage a workplace culture where everyone can thrive with a sense of belonging.

Recruitment Agency Notice

We operate a strict Preferred Supplier List (PSL) for the provision of recruitment services. Only agencies on our PSL may provide CVs and only when the role is released to them by our recruitment team. We will not accept unsolicited CVs from suppliers not currently on our PSL. We explicitly reserve the right to add candidate details from unsolicited CVs from non-PSL agencies into our own candidate database and to pursue/hire such candidate(s) without any obligation, financial or otherwise, to the agency concerned.

National Nuclear Laboratory


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