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Nuclear Energy

NuclearA number of interesting issues surround nuclear energy. On one hand, large amounts of base-load electricity can be generated by  nuclear power stations with minimal emissions. On the other hand, questions surround the economic viability, and perceived risks and public acceptability associated with powerplant operations and radioactive wastes. The UK is currently building two large nuclear power reactors at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast. The OU collaborated with Windfall Films and the BBC in the production of a documentary series ‘Building Britain’s Biggest Nuclear Power Plant’. The first two episodes were shown on BBC2 in June 2021. Link:

Research at The Open University focusses in two main areas. The first area looks at improving the characterisation of materials that are contained within these reactors. OU research informs appropriate strategies to prolong plant lifetimes. OU research also considers the properties of materials needed for future reactors that may be constructed in the UK. The second area looks at nuclear policy and its impact on energy generation scenarios within the UK and for other countries that are developing nuclear power. 

The Open University is a partner in EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy Futures.


Further Information

For further information on OU nuclear energy research, please contact Professor William Nuttall (Professor of Energy):

Telephone: 01908 655113