Skip to main content


  • Caption

Research shows at least two-thirds of young people would consider a career in nuclear

04 December 2023

Insights into young people’s attitudes towards nuclear energy have been published in a new report from the British Science Association. This publication comes at a time when the drive towards net zero and the need for increased energy security are both high on the agenda for the general public.

The study, funded by Urenco as part of our commitment to education and skills development, shows that young people are open to careers in nuclear energy, but don’t feel they are well enough informed about it in the classroom, via media or wider society. The research showed that 14 to 18-year-olds felt more informed about renewables (solar, wind, tidal) and fossil fuels than they did nuclear, including at school.

Young people said that the most critical issue for improving their lives in the future, above all others, was climate change, with 45% ranking it as their top concern. They stated they wanted to learn more about how nuclear could contribute to this in terms of cleaner, more efficient and more sustainable energy, and how it compares to other sources such as fossil fuels. They also wanted access to clear and transparent information concerning the safety of nuclear energy, its cost, and how nuclear energy is generated.

Almost two thirds (64%) of young people said they would be interested in careers in nuclear, while 15% said they would like to find out more.

Other findings showed:

  • 70% believed that a career in the nuclear industry would be “challenging” rather than “uninspiring” (6%);
  • 66% thought a nuclear career would be “fulfilling” rather than “pointless” (6%);
  • 58% said such a role would be “interesting” rather than “boring” (15%). 

A good knowledge of maths and science were perceived by young people to be amongst the top three attributes needed for a career in the nuclear energy sector and they would like more information about pay, the diversity of people and job roles. Nearly a third (32%) believed a degree or post-graduate qualification was necessary to work in the nuclear industry, and only 11% thought that an apprenticeship would be sufficient.

The research was carried out as part of a partnership between Urenco and the BSA, under their Future Forum programme. Since 2017, the BSA has been running the programme to give young people a chance to voice their opinions and concerns on science and technology topics.

This study centred around an initial survey of 1,000 14 to 18-year-olds in England, Scotland and Wales, with two follow-up workshops, attended by more than 40 young people, providing the opportunity for more detailed responses.

The report’s recommendations are to:

  • Better inform young people about how nuclear energy contributes to net zero goals; how it is generated, its safety record; and careers in the industry;
  • Ensure communication about nuclear energy is factual, balanced, accessible and transparent, being mindful of existing perceptions of nuclear and knowledge gaps, and making it relevant to young people’s daily lives and how they can get involved in shaping the industry; 
  • Establish a network of youth ambassadors, potentially drawing upon the expertise of young people who have a personal connection to nuclear, asking for their advice on communications campaigns and strategies related to education and careers.

Boris Schucht, Chief Executive Officer of Urenco, said: “This report provides useful insights into how young people perceive nuclear energy, including as a low-carbon source and a possible career pathway.

“Urenco is committed to nurturing the next generation of scientists and engineers, and it’s clear that young people must be provided with the opportunity to learn more widely about all sources of energy to be able to take part in valuable public discourse on topics like energy security, as well as to consider meaningful, rewarding careers in science and technology. 

“We will work with our partners, including the British Science Association, to progress the recommendations, increasing the awareness and knowledge of nuclear energy and attracting a wider pool of future talent to the industry.”     

Hannah Russell, Chief Executive of the BSA, said: “We’re really pleased to bring young people’s views about nuclear energy to the fore. With the climate crisis being such a concern, it is imperative that we provide future generations with the access to the knowledge and skills they need to fully understand not only the nuclear industry, but other topics essential in the national and global net zero journey.

“It’s so encouraging to see the enthusiasm of young people and the desire to learn more about nuclear energy generation. This appetite must be realised by organisations, businesses, the education system and beyond. We’re proud to support Urenco’s work to further education around this area.”

You can view the research on the BSA website.


About Urenco

Urenco is an international supplier of enrichment services and fuel cycle products with sustainability at the core of its business. Operating in a pivotal area of the nuclear fuel supply chain for 50 years, Urenco facilitates zero carbon electricity generation for consumers around the world.

With its head office near London, UK, Urenco’s global presence ensures diversity and security of supply for customers through enrichment facilities in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. Using centrifuge technology designed and developed by Urenco, and through the expertise of our people, the Urenco Group provides safe, cost effective and reliable services; operating within a framework of high environmental, social and governance standards, complementing international safeguards.

Urenco is committed to continued investment in the responsible management of nuclear materials; innovation activities with clear sustainability benefits, such as nuclear medicine, industrial efficiency and research; and nurturing the next generation of scientists and engineers.


Sign up to our newsletter by entering your email address below.

Back to
the goals