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Senior Reactor Physicist

Please Note: The application deadline for this job has now passed.

Job Introduction

Job Description for Senior Reactor Physicist:

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 most important asset for our future success is our people, it is their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm that drives our work and fuels our purpose.  

Whether it is accelerating a UK demonstration programme for Advanced Modular Reactors or delivering our first sustainable supply of medical radioisotopes since the 1960s, NNL will be at the forefront of game-changing advances that will help to transform people’s lives, now and in the future. 

A vacancy has arisen in the Nuclear and Reactor Physics team for an experienced, high calibre reactor physicist with a particular interest in undertaking applied nuclear and reactor physics projects on behalf of our core customers in nuclear new build and Advanced Nuclear Technology (ANT) as well as in our Core Science Themes and NNL Focus areas such as Security & Non-proliferation and Clean Energy. Nuclear and Reactor physics is one of the key activities in the support of current nuclear technology and the development of future UK nuclear technologies. 

The role provides the opportunity to develop and build on a well-rounded understanding of nuclear and reactor physics, combined with improving the understanding of techniques that are used to investigate such properties. The combination of these areas supports the development and delivery of programmes to support the safe operation of current and future nuclear applications across the whole industry.

The role has responsibility for technical leadership of nuclear new build and advanced reactor physics capabilities involving technologies such as (but not limited to):

  • Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR) including High Temperature Gas Reactors (HTGR)
  • Small Modular Reactors (SMR)
  • Molten Salt Reactors (MSR)
  • Lead Cooled Fast Reactors (LFR)
  • Sodium Cooled Fast Reactors (SFR)
  • Research reactors, First of a kind reactors

The role holder will not be expected to have experience and knowledge of all of these reactor types, but will require sufficient knowledge and experience to lead technical projects and programmes that support research and development or commercial opportunities that relate to them. 

The role holder will ideally be able to demonstrate expertise and experience from the areas of core neutronics, thermal hydraulics, whole-plant assessments of nuclear plants in normal operation, frequent faults, infrequent faults and Design Basis faults and safety justification. The role holder us expected to have working practitioner experience in core neutronics or thermal hydraulics, but previous experience in any of the other areas would also be valuable. 

The role holder will work closely with junior staff (or colleagues), focussing in particular on the skills and capability development of junior staff or colleagues in relevant areas of expertise. The role also has accountability for the development, delivery and deployment of software relevant to the capability where required. 

Location for this role is flexible, although attendance at an NNL site (Risley or Preston) will be required as deemed by work requirements specified by the line manager.

Role Responsibility

Main Responsibilities for Senior Reactor Physicist:

  • Initiating and leading significant national/international customer, Focus Area and Science and Technology (S&T) programmes.
  • Act as a technical lead on projects in the area of reactor physics, and supporting the development and progression of capability strategy for reactor physics.
  • Lead and deliver on (internal and external) customer projects to time, in budget, and to required environmental, health, safety, security and quality (EHSS&Q) standards.
  • Delivery of technical work to a high quality including authoring, checking and approval of technical documents and presenting work performed to customers, at international conferences, or project meetings.
  • Carrying out neutronics or reactor physics calculations using recognised code packages and in-house codes where required.
  • Providing technical guidance to team members to support skills and capability development in reactor physics through the verifying of reactor physicist assessments and/or providing technical guidance and knowledge transfer.
  • Leading in building and maintaining strong collaborative links within NNL and with partner/client organisations nationally and internationally (including universities, international nuclear laboratories and international nuclear research centres and supply chain partners), providing expert, authoritative advice.
  • Representing NNL and UK, contributing to, influencing and leading where appropriate, national and international working or expert groups, maximising the benefit for NNL.
  • Support the Capability Manager, Customer Workstream Leads and Account Directors on promotion of NNL and its work (including writing articles for scientific journals, trade magazines and NNL corporate publications, producing conference papers, and preparing presentations).
  • Be actively involved in NNL improvement projects/initiatives (e.g. EHSS&Q objectives, Knowledge Management). 

The Ideal Candidate

Essential Criteria for Senior Reactor Physicist:

  • Relevant scientific, mathematics or engineering degree combined with significant experience in the nuclear industry.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Gen IV Reactors and Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANT) and demonstrated expertise in applying neutronics and reactor physics concepts to the analysis of problems.
  • Ability to demonstrate Technical leadership including:
    • Technical oversight of projects or programmes to customer requirements related to area of expertise.
    • Work package scoping and delivery of significant and technical programmes and projects.
    • Technical development of scientists and engineers.
    • Demonstrable evidence of providing technical advice to customers in the area of reactor physics.
  • Significant practical experience in using nuclear codes such as:
    • Neutronics Codes – (e.g. SERPENT, CASMO/SIMULATE, WIMS, PANTHER, SCALE).
    • Particle Transport Codes – (e.g. MCNP, GEANT4, OpenMC).
  • Demonstrated positive attitude towards Health & Safety, Security, Environment, and Quality requirements.
  • Proven ability to understand and influence key stakeholders and shape and drive the agenda.
  • Ability to work collaboratively across different sectors with diverse external stakeholders including Universities.
  • Professional membership / Chartered Physicist, Engineer or Scientist or actively working towards Chartership.
  • Ability to obtain 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).

Desirable Criteria for Senior Reactor Physicist:

  • Relevant PhD or post graduate MSc degree in reactor physics or nuclear engineering or equivalent desirable.
  • Track record of technical oversight of complex projects and programmes involving multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Experience of using UNIX/LINUX operating systems.
  • Knowledge of programming (C++, Python and/or Fortran or other relevant languages).
  • Knowledge and experience in using some codes such as:
    • Thermal-hydraulics Codes– (e.g. COBRA, RELAP, TRACE, OpenFoam, StarCCM, or comparable and equivalent).
  • Whole-plant modelling of normal operation, frequent faults, infrequent faults, Design Basis faults.
  • Severe Accidents and Fault studies – (e.g. Fault tree, MAAP, Melcore or comparable and equivalent).
  • Knowledge and experience of safety case justification.
  • Valid UK driving license.

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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