News Archive


NI Proposal to change Membership Grades

The Nuclear Institute is proposing to reduce the number of membership grades from seven to four, in line with many other professional institutions. This will streamline and simplify the current application processes, enable the majority of nuclear professionals to become professional members and therefore further recognise the contribution and value of all professionals working in the nuclear sector. 

The current professional membership grades are Fellow, Member, Associate Member and Technician Member, with suitably qualified and experienced individuals currently being able to register at the appropriate grade (Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer and Technician Engineer) with the Engineering Council, or as a Chartered Scientist with the Science Council.  The current non professional membership grades are Learned Member, Graduate Member and Student Member. 

This proposal will mean reducing these seven grades to four; two professional and two non professional membership grades, with professional membership based on the requirements of the Nuclear Delta. Suitably qualified and experienced applicants can also apply for registration with the Engineering or Science Council through full professional review. 

The individual proposed membership grades are;

Professional membership grades

Member – Individuals who have developed a high standard of professional knowledge and understanding and are engaged in an activity relevant to the interests of the nuclear sector.  The new Member grade will encompass/include the current Member, Associate Member and Technician Member grades. This grade will be entitled to use the post nominal letters MNucl.

Fellow – Individuals who have demonstrated significant individual contribution and sustained achievement in the nuclear sector and satisfy the requirements for Member.  The new Fellow grade will encompass/include the current Fellow grade and will be entitled to use the post nominal letters FNucl.

Non-professional membership grades

Associate – Individuals who are aspiring to meet the requirements of professional membership and/or have an interest in the nuclear sector.  The new Associate grade will encompass/include the current Learned Member and Graduate Member grades.  

Affiliate – Individuals who are beginning their journey towards professional membership and are a part time, sandwich or full time student or apprentice.  On graduation/apprenticeship completion Affiliates will automatically be upgraded to Associate.  This new Affiliate grade encompasses/includes the current Student Member grade and would cover those enrolled on apprenticeship schemes. 

Those apprentices completing apprenticeship programmes and schemes which have been fully approved by the Nuclear Institute as meeting the Engineering Council Technician Engineer criteria and the Nuclear Delta may also be considered for election as professional members and registration with the Engineering Council.

Note – As non professional grades, neither Associate or Affiliate grades would be able to use post nominal letters.

The Nuclear Delta

Working in the interests of public safety, the Nuclear Institute promotes high standards of education and professional performance within the nuclear industry.  Part of this has been done by developing the Nuclear Delta standard, which is the leading document for outlining the professional standards for the entire UK nuclear industry.

The Nuclear Delta was established to represent additional and unique nuclear sector criteria and which specifically encompasses safety culture, nuclear safety, nuclear security and safeguards.   It is essentially a definition of professionalism that separates the nuclear professional from others working in the nuclear sector. 

Most of our current professional members already meet this standard, along with the knowledge, competence and commitment requirements for registration.  It is proposed that future professional membership of the Nuclear Institute is based on the ability of the applicant to meet the Nuclear Delta requirements, as evidenced through a professional review. If an applicant also applied for registration with the Engineering and/or Science Council, they would undergo a full professional review, based on the competence and commitment requirements of UKSPEC for the Engineering Council and/or the Science Council competencies. 

In broad terms a professional member of the Nuclear Institute would need to be able to demonstrate the following Nuclear Delta competencies, appropriate to their grade and the area within which they work:

  • An understanding of the term ‘Safety Culture’, which includes safety responsibilities, compliance with operating procedures, safe systems of work, safety implications, safety standards, safety reporting systems, etc. 
  • A commitment to ‘personal behavioural safety’, which includes a willingness to challenge unsafe acts and behaviour, a positive promoting attitude towards safety, understanding limits of authority, human performance factors including vigilance and complacency, questioning attitude, learning from experience,  etc.
  • A minimum level of understanding of ‘Nuclear Safety’, which includes an appreciation of the basic principles of nuclear physics, risk minimisation, safety critical issues, operating conditions, prevention of accidents or mitigation of accident consequences, protection of workers, the public and the environment from undue radiation hazards, exposure and contamination, etc.
  • A minimum understanding of the ‘nuclear security and safeguards’, which includes appreciating the  implications of working in the nuclear industry in terms of personal access and the management and safeguard of radioactive materials and sensitive information, covering workplace security, security threats and controls, site access, restricted areas and items, security principles, control and management of radioactive materials, IT and communication security, sensitive materials policy, etc.

A broad understanding of the nuclear industry, which includes its history and organisation and the legal, commercial and public opinion related environment in which it operates, appropriate to the area within which the applicant works, including knowledge of past key incidents, the identified causes, contributory factors and resulting lessons learned, the broad nuclear regulatory regime and the influence on/of nuclear activities on public opinion, etc.

The Membership Committee considers that the proposed changes to the membership grades will broaden the appeal of the Nuclear Institute to the whole nuclear sector, not just those working in technical roles and those that may already be registered professionals with other professional institutions, while maintaining the high standards of nuclear professionalism within our membership.


The membership committee would be very pleased to hear your comments and views on these important change proposals.  If you have any comments please email these to Anna Wright, Nuclear Institute Operations Manager at