Robert Alford


Robert Alford

Achievements to date

  • 2022: Awarded Fellowship of the Nuclear Institute
  • 2020: Awarded Chartered Manager Status
  • 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 Chem CMgR FNucI

Delivery Lead for Nuclear Energy Applications Projects at the National Nuclear Laboratory

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 several teams with NNL.

He currently operates as Delivery Lead for Nuclear Energy Applications Projects at NNL collaborating with a range of stakeholders on the wider applications of nuclear energy beyond electricity. Robert is currently leading a range of projects including the potential for nuclear energy to provide hydrogen for the gas network and supporting the Health and Nuclear Medicine Focus area.

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 the 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 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. 

Robert's involvement with the NI and YGN specifically has increased since winning the YGN Young Excellence Prize in 2014, he is also on the Cumbria branch committee. Robert leads our Education, Attraction and Outreach team and is extremely passionate about inspiring the next generation about the amazing careers the nuclear industry has to offer.

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.

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 am keen to continue my passion for educating people about clean energy and the part nuclear can play, regularly talking to members of the industry, schools and public explaining while we are making great progress in decarbonising electricity that is less than 20% of our energy usage and low carbon and sustainable energy for heating and transportation, both reliant on fossil fuel currently, is our bigger challenge and I am keen to enable Nuclear to be at an integral part of that challenge".

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.”