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Professor William James Nuttall

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Energy
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Engineering & Innovation
  • william.nuttall

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 extensive experience of matters relating to civil nuclear energy.
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. Nuttall’s research techniques have also included system dynamics especially as applied to problems in resource depletion.
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
  • Energy and Complexity
  • Hydrogen Futures


Current Funded Research Projects

The Network of the Indo-UK Civil Nuclear Research Partnership
Co-Investigator of an EPSRC funded (Ref: EP/M018296/1) project bringing together UK researchers involved with the Indo-UK Civil Nuclear Research Partnership. For further information click here.


Teaching interests

Recent Teaching activities:

T176 Residential School - Energy Conversion Exercise - Tutor - ongoing
T848 Managing Technological Innovation - Module Chair - ongoing
T889 Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches - Module Chair 2017/2018
T847 The MSc Professional Project - Module Chair 2016/2017



Impact and engagement

Follow Professor Nuttall on LinkedIn and at TheConversation.



External collaborations

Professor Nuttall is OU Lead for the EPSRC funded (Ref: EP/L015900/1) Imperial-Cambridge-Open Centre for
Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy
To access the website please click here:


Professor Nuttall is Honorary Editor and Chair of the Editorial Panel for Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: ENERGY. Details of the journal can be found here.    



Professor Nuttall is a member of the International Organising Committee for the conference series: International Conferences on Technology Policy and Innovation. Details of this series can be found here.  

Research Activity

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.Horizon2020, 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.

An Indo - UK Civil Nuclear Network: A proposal to support a Networking Activity

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Nov/201531/Oct/2018EPSRC EPSRC 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.


Low Carbon Futures: confronting electricity challenges on island systems (2019-10)
Matthew, George; Nuttall, William; Mestel, Benjamin and Dooley, Laurence
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 147 (pp. 36-50)
Coal in the 21st Century: a climate of change and uncertainty (2019-07-17)
Madhavi, Madhu and Nuttall, William
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Energy, 172(2) (pp. 46-63)
Energy and the military: Convergence of security, economic, and environmental decision-making (2019)
Samaras, Constantine; Nuttall, William J. and Bazilian, Morgan
Energy Strategy Reviews, 26, Article 100409
Tritium supply and use: a key issue for the development of nuclear fusion energy (2018-11)
Pearson, Richard J.; Antoniazzi, Armando B. and Nuttall, William J.
Fusion Engineering and Design, 136 (pp. 1140-1148)
Editorial (2018-05)
Nuttall, William J.
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Energy, 171(2) (pp. 47-48)
Predicting the cost of the consequences of a large nuclear accident in the UK (2017-11-30)
Ashley, S.F.; Vaughan, G.J.; Nuttall, W.J.; Thomas, P.J. and Higgins, N.A.
Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 112 (pp. 96-113)
Considerations in relation to off-site emergency procedures and response for nuclear accidents (2017-11)
Ashley, S. F.; Vaughan, G. J.; Nuttall, W. J. and Thomas, P. J.
Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 112(A) (pp. 77-95)
Compensating for severe nuclear accidents: An expert elucidation (2017-11)
Nuttall, William J.; Ashley, Stephen F. and Heffron, Raphael J.
Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 112(A) (pp. 131-142)
Editorial (2017-11)
Nuttall, William J.
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Energy, 170(4) (pp. 135-136)
A dynamic simulation of low-carbon policy influences on endogenous electricity demand in an isolated island system (2017-10-31)
Matthew, George Jr.; Nuttall, William J.; Mestel, Ben and Dooley, Laurence S.
Energy Policy, 109 (pp. 121-131)
Strategic Real Option and Flexibility Analysis for Nuclear Power Plants Considering Uncertainty in Electricity Demand and Public Acceptance (2017-05)
Cardin, Michel-Alexandre; Zhang, Sizhe and Nuttall, William J.
Energy Economics, 64 (pp. 226-237)
Romanian Tritium for Nuclear Fusion (2017-03-29)
Pearson, Richard J; Comsa, Olivia; Stefan, Liviu and Nuttall, William J
Fusion Science and Technology, 71(4) (pp. 610-615)
The global nuclear liability regime post Fukushima Daiichi (2016-07)
Heffron, Raphael J.; Ashley, Stephen F. and Nuttall, William J.
Progress in Nuclear Energy, 90 (pp. 1-10)
Sankey-Diagram-based insights into the hydrogen economy of today (2016-05-25)
Bakenne, Adetokunboh; Nuttall, William and Kazantzis, Nikolaos
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 41(19) (pp. 7744-7753)
Life-cycle impacts from novel thorium–uranium-fuelled nuclear energy systems (2015-09-01)
Ashley, S. F.; Fenner, R. A.; Nuttall, W. J. and Parks, G. T.
Energy Conversion and Management, 101 (pp. 136-150)
A dynamic model of the global uranium market and the nuclear fuel cycle (2015-03-31)
Rooney, Matthew; Nuttall, William J. and Kazantzis, Nikolaos
Resources Policy, 43 (pp. 50-60)
Hydrogen cryomagnetics for decentralised energy management and superconductivity (2015-02)
Glowacki, B. A.; Nuttall, W. J.; Hanley, E.; Kennedy, L. and O’Flynn, D.
Journal of Superconductivity and Novel Magnetism, 28(2) (pp. 561-571)
Water corrosion of spent nuclear fuel: radiolysis driven dissolution at the UO2/water interface (2015-01-28)
Springell, Ross; Rennie, Sophie; Costelle, Leila; Darnbrough, James; Stitt, Camilla; Cocklin, Elizabeth; Lucas, Chris; Burrows, Robert; Sims, Howard; Wermeille, Didier; Rawle, Jonathan; Nicklin, Chris; Nuttall, William; Scott, Thomas and Lander, Gerard
Faraday Discussions, 180 (pp. 301-311)
High tension electricity: new multi-scale complexities in the electricity system (2015)
Bompard, Ettore; Masera, Marcelo and Nuttall, William J.
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 96 (pp. 327-333)
Technology and policy issues relating to future developments in research and radioisotope production reactors (2014-11)
Nuttall, William J. and Storey, Peter
Progress in Nuclear Energy, 77 (pp. 201-213)
Fuel panics: insights from spatial agent-based simulation (2014-08-01)
Upton, Eben and Nuttall, William James
IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 15(4) (pp. 1499-1509)
Fuel cycle modelling of open cycle thorium-fuelled nuclear energy systems (2014-07-31)
Ashley, S. F.; Lindley, B. A.; Parks, G. T.; Nuttall, W. J.; Gregg, R.; Hesketh, K. W.; Kannan, U.; Krishnani, P. D.; Singh, B.; Thakur, A.; Cowper, M. and Talamo, A.
Annals of Nuclear Energy, 69 (pp. 314-330)
The siting of UK nuclear reactors (2014)
Grimston, Malcolm; Nuttall, William J. and Vaughan, Geoff
Journal of Radiological Protection, 34(2) (R1-R24)
An economic evaluation framework for inherently safe membrane reactor modules in the presence of uncertainty: the case for process safety investment and risk reduction (2013-05)
Koc, Reyyan; Kazantzis, Nikolaus K.; Nuttall, William J. and Ma, Yi Hua
Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 26(3) (pp. 468-477)
Open cycle thorium–uranium-fuelled nuclear energy systems (2013-04)
Ashley, Steve; Fenner, Richard; Nuttall, William and Parks, Geoffrey
Proceedings of the ICE: Energy, 166(EN2) (pp. 74-81)
Beyond the Helium conundrum (2013)
Glowacki, B. A.; Nuttall, W. J. and Clarke, R. H.
IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 23, Article 500113(3)
Nuclear Energy: Thorium fuel has risks (2012-12-06)
Ashley, Stephen F.; Parks, Geoffrey T.; Nuttall, William J.; Boxall, Colin and Grimes, Robin G.
Nature, 492(7427) (pp. 31-33)
Minimising the economic cost and risk to accelerator-driven subcritical reactor technology: The case of designing for flexibility: Part 1 (2012-02)
Steer, Steven J.; Cardin, Michel-Alexandre; Nuttall, William J.; Parks, Geoffrey T. and Gonçalves, Leonardo V.N.
Nuclear Engineering and Design, 243 (pp. 135-147)
Resources: Stop squandering helium (2012)
Nuttall, William J.; Clarke, Richard H. and Glowacki, Bartek A.
Nature, 485(7400) (pp. 573-575)
Economic assessment of inherently safe membrane reactor technology options integrated into IGCC power plants (2012)
Koc, Reyyan; Kazantzis, Nikolaos K.; Nuttall, William J. and Ma, Yi Hua
Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 90(5) (pp. 436-450)
Minimizing the economic cost and risk to accelerator-driven subcritical reactor technology. Part 2: The case of designing for flexibility (2012)
Cardin, Michel-Alexandre; Steer, Steven J.; Nuttall, William J.; Parks, Geoffrey T.; Gonçalves, Leonardo V.N. and de Neufville, Richard
Nuclear Engineering and Design, 243 (pp. 120-134)
Too big to fail — lessons for today and the future from British industrial policy, 1960–1990 (2011-10)
Nuttall, William J.; Holweg, Matthias and Leybovich, Michael E.
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 78(8) (pp. 1286-1298)
Predicting the contractual cost of unplanned shutdowns of power stations: an accelerator-driven subcritical reactor case study (2011-08)
Steer, Steven J.; Nuttall, William J.; Parks, Geoffrey T. and Gonçalves, Leonardo V.N.
Electric Power Systems Research, 81(8) (pp. 1662-1671)
Evaluating government's policies on promoting smart metering diffusion in retail electricity markets via agent-based simulation (2011)
Zhang, Tao and Nuttall, William J.
Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(2) (pp. 169-186)
Ongoing ascent to the helium production plateau—insights from system dynamics (2010-06)
Cai, Zhiming; Clarke, Richard H.; Glowacki, Bartek A.; Nuttall, William J. and Ward, Nick
Resources Policy, 35(2) (pp. 77-89)
Generating the option of a two-stage nuclear renaissance (2010)
Grimes, Robin W. and Nuttall, William
Science, 329(5993) (pp. 799-803)
Dynamics of the UK natural gas industry: system dynamics modelling and long-term energy policy analysis (2009)
Chyong Chi, Kong; Nuttall, William J. and Reiner, David M.
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 76(3) (pp. 339-357)
A new energy security paradigm for the twenty-first century (2008-10)
Nuttall, William J. and Manz, Devon L.
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 75(8) (pp. 1247-1259)
The case for a new energy research, development and promotion policy for the UK (2008)
Jamasb, Tooraj; Nuttall, William J. and Pollitt, Michael
Energy Policy, 36(12) (pp. 4610-4614)
Fuel mix diversification incentives in liberalized electricity markets: a Mean–Variance Portfolio theory approach (2008)
Roques, Fabien; Newbery, David M. and Nuttall, William J.
Energy Economics, 30(4) (pp. 1831-1849)
Technology Assessment of Near-Term Open-Cycle Thorium-Fuelled Nuclear Energy Systems (2019)
Nuttall, W. J.; Ashley, S. F.; Fenner, R. A.; Krishnani, P. D. and Parks, G. T.
In: Nayak, A. K. and Sehgal, B. R. eds. Thorium - Energy for the Future: Selected Papers from ThEC15 (pp. 117-124)
ISBN : 978-981-13-2657-8 | Publisher : Springer
Scotland, Nuclear Energy Policy and Independence (2017-08-15)
Heffron, Raphael J. and Nuttall, William J.
In: Wood, Geoffrey and Baker, Keith eds. A Critical Review of Scottish Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Policy. Energy, Climate and the Environment (pp. 103-126)
ISBN : 978-3-319-56897-3 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Cham, Switzerland
The present status of nuclear third-party liability and nuclear insurance (2016-06)
Ashley, Stephen F.; Nuttall, William J. and Heffron, Raphael J.
In: Heffron, Raphael J. and Little, Gavin F. M. eds. Delivering energy law and policy in the EU and the US: A reader (pp. 251-255)
ISBN : 978-0-7486-9679-6 | Publisher : Edinburgh University Press | Published : Edinburgh
Smart Meters, Grids and Criminality (2015)
Nuttall, William; Bompard, Ettore and Masera, Marcelo
In: Gibson, David and Slovak, Jan eds. Building Sustainable R&D Centres in Emerging Technology Regions (pp. 131-143)
ISBN : 978-80-210-7854-3 | Publisher : Masaryk University | Published : Brno, Czech Republic
Nuclear Energy in the UK: Safety Culture and Industrial Organisation (2014)
Nuttall, William J. and Earp, John E.
In: Nam, Ilchong and Rothwell, Geoffrey eds. New Nuclear Power Industry Procurement Market: International Experiences. Research Monographs (2014-01) (pp. 142-183)
ISBN : 978-89-8063902-1 | Publisher : Korea Development Institute | Published : Sejong-Si, South Korea
The Future of Helium as a Natural Resource (2012-04-26)
Nuttall, William; Clarke, Richard and Glowacki, Bartek eds.
Routledge Explorations in Environmental Economics
ISBN : 978-0-415-57697-0 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, UK
Security of Energy Supply in Europe: Natural Gas, Nuclear and Hydrogen (2010)
Lévêque, François; Glachant, Jean-Michel; Barquin, Julian; von Hirschhausen, Christian; Holz, Franziska and Nuttall, William J. eds.
Loyola de Palacio Series on European Energy Policy
ISBN : 978-1-84980-032-7 | Publisher : Edward Elgar | Published : Cheltenham, UK
Energy and Innovation: Structural Change and Policy Implications (2010)
van Geenhuizen, Marina; Nuttall, William J.; Gibson, David and Oftedal, Elin M. eds.
International Series on Technology Policy and Innovation
ISBN : 9781557535788 | Publisher : Purdue University Press | Published : West Lafayette, IN
Renewable Integration in Island Electricity Systems – A System Dynamics Assessment (2016-01-26)
Matthew, George; Nuttall, William J.; Mestel, Ben; Dooley, Laurence and Ferrão, Paulo Manuel
In : 2nd Asia-Pacific Conference on Complex Systems Design & Management (24-26 Feb 2016, Singapore) (pp. 107-119)
Insights into the Thermal Generation Futures of Isolated Island Electricity Systems Using System Dynamics (2015-08)
Matthew, George Jr. S.; Nuttall, William; Mestel, Ben and Dooley, Laurence
In : Proceedings of the 33rd International Conference of the System Dynamics Society (19-23 Jul 2015, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
The early phase of a radiation accident: revisiting thinking on evacuation and exclusion zones (2013)
French, Simon; Argyris, Nikolaos; Nuttall, William; Moriarty, John and Thomas, Philip
In : 10th ISCRAM Conference (12-15 May 2013, Baden-Baden, Germany) (pp. 296-300)
A system dynamics study of uranium and the nuclear fuel cycle (2013)
Rooney, Matthew; Nuttall, William and Kazantzis, Nikolas
In : 31st International Conference of the System Dynamics Society (21-25 Jul 2013, Cambridge Massachusetts USA)
Smart energy grids and complexity science (2012)
Bompard, Ettore; Connors, Steve; Fulli, Gianluca; Han, Bei; Masera, Marcelo; Mengolini, Anna and Nuttall, William J.
In : Smart Energy Grids and Complexity Science (25 Jun 2012, Petten NL) (pp. 44-47)
The future of helium? A global agency to oversee production, storage, supply and use of helium gas and liquid (2012)
Scurlock, Ralph; Clarke, Richard; Glowacki, Bartek and Nuttall, William
In : 12th Cryogenics IIR International Conference (11-14 Sep 2012, Dresden, Germany)
On the proliferation resistance of thorium-uranium nuclear fuel (2012)
Ashley, Steve; Nuttall, William; Parks, Geoffrey and Worrall, Andrew
In : UK Project on Nuclear Issues, Annual Conference 2012 (10 May 2012, London)
Energy and the Military: Convergence of Security, Economic, and Environmental Decision-Making (2017-11-20)
Nuttall, William J.; Samaras, Constantine and Bazilian, Morgan
Energy Policy Research Group, Working Paper 1717, University of Cambridge.
Next Steps for Hydrogen - physics, technology and the future (2016-05-26)
Nuttall, William; Glowacki, Bartek and Krishnamurthy, Satheesh
Institute of Physics, London.

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