Robert Alford RSci MNucI


Robert Alford

“His enthusiasm makes Robert stand out from the crowd.”

Achievements to date

  • 2018: Awarded Chartered Chemist and Chartered Scientist
  • 2017: Post Graduate Award in Advanced Technical Skills and ILM Level 7 Award in Leadership and Management
  • 2014:YGN Excellence Prize Winner 
  • 2013: NNL IMPACT Award for Corporate Social Responsibility
  • 2013: Finalist NSAN Nuclear Graduate of the Year Award

Additional Roles:

  • NNL company representative for the Nuclear Institute

  • Nuclear Institute Cumbria Branch Committees

  • YGN National Strategic Committee

  • YGN Chair of Education, Attraction and Outreach subcommittee

  • STEMNET and CHEMNET Ambassador


Robert Alford CSci CChem MNucl

Senior Strategic and Economic Advisor in the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO)

A genuine rising star, Robert Alford can be considered as something of an advertisement for the next generation of nuclear professionals. Robert has a total passion for nuclear and has progressed quickly since joining NNL in 2012 as a Graduate Scientist.

He arrived after completing a First Class Honours degree in Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry from Loughborough University. Since joining he has undertaken a variety of challenging roles with NNL in a relatively short space of time. He has worked on a range of interesting projects and in a number of teams with NNL.

He currently operates as NNL’s Deputy Technical Lead in the Civil Fuel Post Irradiation Examination (PIE) team collaborating closely with EDF Energy. Robert has also led a collaborative project to examine safety margins associated with geological waste disposal. The project brought together representatives from NNL, Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM), the University of Manchester and Sellafield Ltd.

Commenting on his progress so far Robert said: “I’m proud of the input I have already been able to have with NNL. It’s already been a broad range of experience from desktop chemical modelling to inactive experimentation and working in a multi-disciplinary team with industry and academic partners.”

He is grateful for the opportunity to take on responsibility for important projects early in his career and to engage directly with experienced colleagues and customers.

Route into nuclear

Robert’s interest in the nuclear industry goes back to his school days. When he was in Year 9 at High School a speaker from Urenco based at the Capenhurst site came to talk about the nuclear fuel cycle.

Robert was inspired and from then on it was clear where his passion lay. He chose his degree at Loughborough University - radiochemistry at undergraduate level - to be able to pursue a career in nuclear. At Loughborough he became aware of NNL and its role as the UK’s national nuclear laboratory and applied to join the graduate scheme.

Nuclear Professionalism

There’s no doubt Robert has taken every opportunity available to expand his own horizons and immerse himself in the industry. In addition to his day job, he has become involved with the YGN’s strategic committee chairing the Education, Attraction and Outreach subcommittee. He is NNL’s company representative with the Nuclear Institute and is a member of the Cumbria Branch committee. 

He has taken great pride in gaining professional recognition through the Nuclear Institute as part of his personal development and career plan. While he admits that the membership process was challenging, he is grateful for the support and encouragement he has received along the way. Robert is committed to personal and career development and is always available to support colleagues either considering or undertaking professional recognition. 

He is making the most of his position as NNL’s company representative with the Nuclear Institute to help spread the word about professional membership. He has provided detailed and valuable feedback to the Nuclear Institute about his own experiences to help make the process more user-friendly and enjoyable.

This includes recommendations to ensure that different academic backgrounds (including non-scientific disciplines) can be fully accommodated. Robert’s integrity, commitment and sense of responsibility are helping the Nuclear Institute advance nuclear professionalism throughout the industry.

In addition to his professional achievements, Robert has also been delighted to receive external recognition via a series of prestigious awards. He considers this to be a tremendous acknowledgement of his commitment to the industry, its people and local communities.


“His enthusiasm makes Robert stand out from the crowd.”

The Future

After a fine start to his career, Robert is looking forward to a bright future. Of course that should be assured for someone as talented and motivated as he is. Robert is keen to continue with his technical career path. This will enable him to broaden his experience and take on more project leadership, management, bidding and customer facing work.

Looking into the future, he said: “I’m keen to look into new opportunities including visiting lectureships at Universities. This will enable me to pass on my experiences and work with students to offer them a real industry perspective.”

He has a genuine desire to inspire and inform the next generation. He added: “It’s about amazing careers in the nuclear industry. We need to make sure we’re top of the list for people wanting to work in a vibrant and exciting environment.”