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Professor William Nuttall

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Professional biography

Bill Nuttall is Professor of Energy having joined the Open University in October 2012. Much of his work has focussed on technology and policy issues of energy. He has had a leading role in studies devoted to particular energy-related materials including plutonium, helium, uranium, thorium and hydrogen and much of that work is on-going. 
He has long-standing experience of matters relating to civil nuclear energy and more recent experience associated with hydrogen energy systems.
Professor Nuttall’s career started in experimental physics and this technical background informs his interest in energy and technology issues. Beyond energy he has written on matters of technology policy and, reflecting his physics background. Nuttall’s research techniques have included agent-based simulation, energy economics, energy system case studies and system dynamics especially as applied to problems in resource depletion. He also maintains a link to laboratory-based technical studies relating to energy policy issues. 
Professor Nuttall discusses nuclear energy policy in this short video and the gas helium in this short video.
Professor Nuttall is Chair of the Management Committee of OU Energy.



Research interests

Main Research Interests

  • Civil Nuclear Energy Technology and Policy
  • Hydrogen Futures


Current Funded Research Projects

"ICO-CDT" EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy: Building UK Civil Nuclear Skills for Global Markets. 

An EPSRC funded centre for doctoral training in nuclear energy (admitting students 2014-2019) EPSRC grant reference number: EP/L015900/1 - details here

JUNO: A Network for Japan - UK Nuclear Opportunities

An EPSRC funded network fostering civil nuclear collaboration in selected areas betwen teh UK and Japan. EPSRC grant reference number EP/P0136001/1 - details here



Teaching interests

Current Teaching activities:

T176 Residential School - Energy Conversion Exercise - Tutor 
T848 Managing Technological Innovation - Module Chair  
T847  The MSc Professional Project - Module Deputy Chair 
T213 Renewable Energy - Textbook Input
Also currently contributing to a module relating to Technology and Innovation Management in production. 
Professor Nuttall is also lead for the University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering module NE6 Nuclear Energy Policy. He is an Affiliated Lecturer for CUED via an arrangement betwen the two universities. 


Impact and engagement

Follow Professor Nuttall on LinkedIn and at TheConversation.



External collaborations

Professor Nuttall is a Fellow of Hughes Hall, a college of the University of Cambridge
He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden CO, USA. 



In the last five years (2015-2019) Professor Nuttall has co-authored research work in collaboration with researchers from the following overseas institutions:

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA, USA

  • Institute for Transuranium Elements, Germany

  • XMAS Beamline at ESRF, Grenoble France. 

  • University of Limerick, Ireland

  • Politecnico di Torino, Italy

  • European Commission Joint Research Centre

  • Instituto Superior Tecnico, Lisbon Portugal

  • National University of Singapore

  • Centre of Technology and Engineering for Nuclear Projects, Bucharest-Magurele, Romania 

  • National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenics and Isotopic Technologies, Romania

  • Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

  • Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, CO, USA

  • Kinectrics Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, India

  • EGADE Business School, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico

  • Faculty of Management, University of Lodz, Poland

  • IC-2 Institute, University of Texas, Austin, TX USA 


Externally funded projects

Extended University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliance in Energy, Applied Biosciences for Health & Social Policy
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Sep 201831 Aug 2023EC (European Commission): FP (inc. Horizon Europe, H2020, ERC)

The Open University is a partner on the successful bid for the ‘Extended University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliances (DTAs) in Energy, Applied Biosciences for Health and Social Policy - called The DTA3 PhD Fellowship programme, funded by the European Commission (EC) under the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND scheme and coordinated by the University Alliance. This is a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary doctoral training collaboration across UK universities. The DTA3 programme involves a partnership of 15 UK universities participating in the 3 DTAs, which provides funding opportunities for up to 83 MSC DTA3 COFUND PhD Fellows to undertake doctoral research. The OU’s contribution will address the Alliance DTA Energy objectives to develop an international cohort of researchers with doctoral-level knowledge in an aspect of an energy technology and/or use, coupled with a wider appreciation of energy policy, economics, and environmental impacts. Alliance DTA3 researchers will also be equipped with an ability to communicate these issues to decision makers in Government and business, and the wider public. Alliance DTA3 energy graduates will have a strong sense of energy citizenship and their role in tackling the global ‘energy trilemma’ of energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability. The OU will offer three PhD Fellowships through the UK Energy DTA and is not currently involved with the Alliance DTAs in Applied Biosciences for Health and Social Policy. The Alliance DTA3 training environment will be focused on industry relevance, supporting the researchers’ progression into a wide number of careers and sectors after the completion of their PhD. Working with the UK's national Knowledge Transfer Network, Alliance DTA3 doctoral researchers will have the opportunity to undertake, as part of their PhD programme, an industrial placement in a relevant company. The Alliance DTA3 programme will extend significantly the international reach and impact by internationalising the cohort of students and strengthening and deepening ties with researchers in the European Union through established networks with European Universities and Australia through the Australian Technology Network of Universities. This will be enabled through opportunities to participate in international placements. The Alliance DTA3 researchers will be supervised and supported by academics based in universities across the UK. A centralised recruitment process has been designed to provide assurance for quality and independence in the recruitment of two cohorts of early-stage researchers to undertake their doctoral research studies in the appropriate Alliance university. The EC-funded DTA3 PhD Fellowship programme commenced on 1st September 2018 and will continue for five years until 2023.

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Nov 201631 Oct 2021EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

The UK and Japan have a long established co-operation in the field of civil nuclear energy, originating in the 1960s. The UK supplied Japan’s first commercial nuclear power reactor, based on the Magnox design, which operated on the Tokai site from 1966-1998 generating in excess of 27.7 billion KWh. Nuclear fuel from this reactor, and later light water reactors in Japan, was reprocessed under contract to British Nuclear Fuels and its successors, from mid 1970s onwards. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, on 11 March 2011, leading to partial melt down of three boiling water reactors at the Fukushima Daiici site (Units 1-3), the UK and Japan have established a strong collaboration in the field of nuclear decommissioning and waste management. The Governments of UK and Japan recognise the importance of stronger collaboration and co-operation in the field of civil nuclear energy, to address the challenges of legacy decommissioning and waste management, and exploitation of nuclear fission technology as a safe, affordable, low carbon energy supply. Accordingly, a Japan – UK framework for Civil Nuclear Co-operation was established in 2012, leading to an annual UK – Japan Nuclear dialogue to strengthen bi-lateral co-operation in civil nuclear energy. The overarching aim of this project is: to nurture and network the UK and Japan academic communities in civil nuclear energy, leading to the collaborative development of novel methodologies and tools, to address common challenges in decommissioning and waste management, reactor safety and regulation, public communication and engagement, and environmental safety. The JUNO Network will build on the existing portfolio of bi-lateral projects established through the EPSRC / MEXT sponsored UK – Japan Civil Nuclear Research Programme, to facilitate enhanced networking, collaboration, and annual engagement, between the UK and Japan academic communities. The Principal Investigators of the existing UK – Japan EPSRC projects have committed enthusiastic support to this proposal (see letters of support) and, as coinvestigators, will leverage their experience and existing links to lead network activities in their domains of expertise. Our leadership team will also enable the Network to engage and bring together key projects in the EPSRC nuclear fission portfolio on which they are leading investigators, including: the two Centres for Doctoral Training – NGN and ICO, the PACIFIC and DISTINCTIVE consortia, the UK Nuclear Champion Network, and the National Nuclear User Facility.

An Indo - UK Civil Nuclear Network: A proposal to support a Networking Activity
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Nov 201531 Oct 2018EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Both India and the United Kingdom have extensive civil nuclear power programmes. Recognising this, the two governments have, over the last few years, been supporting a series of joint nuclear science and engineering research activities. The intent of this is for both nations to gain, via "the whole being more than the sum of the parts". This particular "Network" project is a part of this, and is intended to foster and facilitate interactions between United Kingdom participants, to help ensure that the United Kingdom gains the fullest value it can value its investment in this activity.

Tokamak Energy Ltd - Top up funding for studentship in Nuclear CDT
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Oct 201530 Sep 2020Tokamak Energy Ltd

Technology Roadmapping is a future based strategic planning technique that outlines the goals, barriers, and strategies necessary for achieving a given vision of technological advancement. Tokamak Energy aims to accelerate the development of fusion energy, and will use Technology Roadmapping to develop a strategy to solve the challenges that lie ahead. Information must be collected through independent research, and communication with world fusion experts. Then through a combination of technology assessment and strategic roadmapping techniques, this information will facilitate development of a dynamic roadmap showing a faster pathway to fusion energy.

Nuclear DTC - Revised (XD13034MF)
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Apr 201430 Sep 2022EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Led by the Centre for Nuclear Engineering (CNE) at Imperial College in collaboration with multi-disciplinary nuclear groups at Cambridge (Nuclear Energy Centre, CNEC) and The Open Universities, the Imperial/Cambridge/Open (ICO, pronounced ECO!) Nuclear CDT brings over 50 academics with internationally-leading research across nuclear materials (e.g. primary circuit structures, fuels, structural materials and wasteforms), joining/manufacturing technologies, structural integrity assessment methods and standards, thermal hydraulics, geological storage and disposal (e.g. rock mechanics), safety and security (e.g. accident modelling and structural integrity), nuclear technology policy and public engagement, plant decommissioning and clean up, regulation, new nuclear build, advanced reactor technology, the fuel cycle, plant life extension, and naval nuclear propulsion. 5 cohorts to OU PhD Oct 2015, Oct 2016, Oct 2017, Oct 2018, Oct 2019 - after completing 1 year MSc at Imperial.