William Nuttall



Bill Nuttall is Professor of Energy, he joined the Open University in October 2012, having spent ten years at the University of Cambridge most recently as Senior Lecturer in Technology Policy. Much of his work has focussed on technology and policy issues of civil nuclear power. He has had a leading role in studies devoted to particular energy-related materials including plutonium, helium, uranium, thorium and hydrogen. Much of that work is on-going. Nuttall’s research techniques have included system dynamics especially as applied to problems in resource depletion.

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 industrial policy and, reflecting his physics background, he maintains an active interest in applied complexity science, including spatial agent-based simulation, particularly of energy-related problems.

Professor Nuttall discusses nuclear energy policy in this short video.


PhD Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,Cambridge, MA. USA

Studied experimental physics under the supervision of Professor R.J. Birgeneau, in the Center for Materials Science and Engineering, PhD awarded May 1993.

B.Sc. Degree in Physics University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK - First Class Honours, awarded July 1987

Selected Employment

October 2005 – September 2012 University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Senior Lecturer Technology Policy
A shared post of Judge Business School and Cambridge University Engineering Department. Responsibilities included teaching, examination, research student supervision, research, and research management.

Director Management of Technology and Innovation programme Judge Business School, October 2008 to September 2012.

January 2002 – September 2005 University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Course Director and Lecturer MPhil Technology Policy
Founding Director of the Masters Degree (MPhil) in Technology Policy initiated by the Cambridge-MIT Institute. A shared post of Judge Business School and Cambridge University Engineering Department.

June 1997- January 2002 Institute of Physics, London, UK
Manager, Policy('Research Policy Officer' until 31/12/00) Identification, research and interpretation of policy issues relating to physics and physicists.

March 1996 - June 1997 University of Birmingham,Birmingham, UK
Research Fellowin physics in the group of Professor EM Forgan.

April 1993 - February 1996 Keele University, Keele, Staffs. UK
Research Fellowin the Department of Physics, in the group of Professor WG Stirling.

Current Funded Research Projects

Management of Nuclear Risk Issues: Environmental, Financial and Safety (NREFS)

Contributing to an EPSRC funded (Ref: EP/K007580/1) project researching post-accident mitigation, risk preparedness and precautionary evacuation policy in the context of severe civil nuclear power accidents.

The OU is one of four UK universities collaborating with the Indian Department of Atomic Energy as part of the Indo-UK civil nuclear research partnership.

Selected Recent Research Articles:

S.F. Ashley, W.J. Nuttall, G.T. Parks, A. Worrall, On the Proliferation Resistance of Thorium-Uranium Nuclear Fuel, Paper for UK Project on Nuclear Issues, Annual Conference 2012, Royal United Services Institute, London 10 May 2012: (

William J. Nuttall , The ideal portfolio today and in 2030, chapter of EU Energy Innovation Policy Towards 2050, Editors J-M Glachant, N. Ahner and L. Meeus, Claeys and Casteels Publishing, Deventer, The Netherlands, pp. 119-130 (2012)

Reyyan Koc, Nikolaus K. Kazantzis, William J. Nuttall and Yi Hua Ma, Economic Rationale for Safety Investment in Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine Membrane Reactor Modules, Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 90, (5), pp. 436-450

William J. Nuttall , Richard H. Clarke and Bartek A. Glowacki, Comment: Stop Squandering Helium, Nature, 485 (7400) pp. 573-575, 31 May 2012

Tao Zhang and William J. Nuttall, An Agent-Based Simulation of Smart Metering technology Adoption, International Journal of Agent Technologies and Systems, 4 (1) pp. 17-38, April-June 2012

William J. Nuttall, Nuclear Power and Large-Scale Renewables in Liberalized Power Markets A British and European Perspective, White Paper G in Managing Large-Scale Penetration of Intermittent Renewables, Proceedings of MIT Energy Initiative Symposium, Cambridge Mass. USA 20 April 2011, published March 2012 ( )

Steer, S. J., Cardin, M.-A., Nuttall, W. J., Parks, G. T., & Goncalves, L. V. N. Minimising the economic cost and risk to accelerator-driven subcritical reactor technology: The case of designing for flexibility: Part 1. Nuclear Engineering and Design, 243, pp. 135-147, (2012). doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2011.11.027

Cardin, M.-A., Steer, S. J., Nuttall, W. J., Parks, G. T., Goncalves, L. V. N., & De Neufville, R. (2012). Minimizing the economic cost and risk to Accelerator-Driven Subcritical Reactor technology. Part 2: The case of designing for flexibility. Nuclear Engineering and Design, 243, (2012). pp. 120-134. doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2011.11.026
Steven J Steer, William J Nuttall, Geoffrey T Parks and Leonardo V N Gonçalves, Predicting the Contractual Cost of Unplanned Shutdowns of Power Stations: An Accelerator-Driven Subcritical Reactor Case Study, Electric Power Systems Research, 81, pp. 1662-1671 (2011).<

T Zhang, W J Nuttall , Evaluating Government’s Policies on Promoting Smart Metering Diffusion in Retail Electricity Markets via Agent Based Simulation, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 2011:28, pp. 169-186, (2011)
William J Nuttall, Matthias Holweg and Misha Leybovich, Too Big to Fail, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 78, pp. 1286-1298, (2011)

R W Grimes and WJ Nuttall, Generating the Option of a Two-Stage Nuclear Renaissance, Science, 329, pp. 799-803 (2010).

Books etc.

WJ Nuttall , RH Clarke and BA Glowacki (editors), Future of Helium as a Natural Resource, Routledge (2012)
M van Geenhuizen, WJ Nuttall, DV Gibson and EM Oftedal, (editors) Energy and Innovation: Structural Change, Purdue University Press (2010)

F. Lévêque, J-M Glachant, J Barquin, C von Hirschhausen, F Holz, and WJ Nuttall (Editors), Security Of Energy Supply In Europe Natural Gas, Nuclear and Hydrogen, Edward Elgar (2010)

William J Nuttall, Ian Farnan, R.J.M Konings and David J Hamilton (Guest Editors), Long Term Management Options for Separated Civil Plutonium, Special Issue of Progress in Nuclear Energy 49 (8) November 2007

T Jamasb, W J Nuttall and M Pollitt (editors), Future Electricity Technologies and Systems,Cambridge University Press (2006)

W J Nuttall , Nuclear Renaissance - technologies and policies for the future of nuclear power,Taylor and Francis, originally published by IOP Publishing (2005)

Professional Affiliations and Selected Awards

  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) and Chartered Physicist (CPhys)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Fellow of Hughes Hall, a college of the University of Cambridge
  • Member of the Nuclear Power Committee of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Member of the Competitiveness Sub-group of the European Nuclear Energy Forum
  • Associate of the Electricity Policy Research Group, Cambridge UK
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board, Next Generation Infrastructures, Netherlands
  • Fulbright Postgraduate Studentship (1987-1988 MIT, USA)

Selected Presentations

  • 2013 invited speaker and panelist at Energetika XXI conference organised by UNECON Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation.
  • 2012 expert adviser to the European Commission on the benefits and limitations of nuclear fission for a low-carbon economy - reported February 2013.
  • 2011 invited to the French Senate to give evidence to the French Parliament’s Committee established by the Office for Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices. Evidence concerned UK policy for nuclear energy post-Fukushima.
  • In 2009 invited by EU DG-Research to be a keynote speaker on matters of policy for civil nuclear power at the triennial Euratom FISA Conference held in Prague under the Czech Presidency of the EU.

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