Energy Seminar – Week 7: The roles of nuclear fission and fusion in the future UK energy system

Professor William Nuttall, CPhys FInstP FRSA

  • Start  Tuesday 21 Nov 2023 5:00pm
  • Finish    Tuesday 21 Nov 2023 6:30pm
  • Venue  Dyson Perrins Building
  • Postcode OX1 3AN
Prof William J. Nuttall CPhys FInstP FRSA


Summary: Fusion has somehow leapt from being a distant concern of horizon-scanning academics and national lab researchers to being a trendy new start-up technology. Fission advocates have a new plan that is factory built and hopefully cheaper than the vast 2-reactor power plant under construction near Bristol. Fusion research and development has seen a culture shift that is both profound and potentially infectious. What will these innovations offer the mid twenty-first century energy system? Professor Nuttall will discuss such issues in this seminar. In 1996, Tony Blair said that Nuclear Power was ‘back on the agenda with a vengeance’ and 27 years on, we can say it again.  Today it is game-on again, spurred by the return of energy insecurity, great power competition and ongoing climate change fears. In the mid-2020s we are facing a second edition of the Nuclear Renaissance, the first edition arguably having fizzled out amidst the diverse crises of Lehman Brothers and Fukushima-Daiichi.

Speaker: Bill Nuttall is Professor of Energy at The Open University, based in Milton Keynes. He a trustee and Fellow of Hughes Hall, a college of Cambridge University. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow at The Payne Institute for Public Policy at Colorado School of Mines, USA.

Professor Nuttall’s career has taken him from experimental physics (PhD MIT USA 1993) and post-doctoral research at Keele University and Birmingham University to technology policy with an emphasis on energy policy. Key to that transition was his Fulbright scholarship to MIT (1987-1988). From 2007 to 2012 he worked on matters of science policy for the Institute of Physics in London. Subsequently he was Lecturer and later Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, where he launched the MPhil in Technology Policy for the Cambridge-MIT Institute. He moved to the OU in October 2012.

He has policy and strategy advice experience for the UK Government, international institutions and the private sector. He is the author, or editor, of 10 books including Nuclear Renaissance – Second Edition published by the Taylor and Francis group in June 2022.

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