Three new Visiting Professors to help lead the case for advanced nuclear and energy decarbonisation

Three leading figures from the nuclear sector have joined the University of Bristol as Visiting Professors, enhancing its standing as a leading nuclear research University.

Dr Tim Stone CBE, Chair of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), Dr Mike Gorley, Chief Technologist at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and Professor Andrew Sherry, Special Advisor for National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), will join the University as part of the Faculty of Engineering.

The UK has set an ambitious plan for decarbonising the economy and achieving net zero by 2050, as well as the short-term target of reducing emissions by 70% by 2030. To achieve this, advanced nuclear has been established by the UK government as a key technology for the decarbonisation of electricity production.

Commenting on these appointments, Professor Mahmoud Mostafavi, Co-Director (Engineering) of the South West Nuclear Hub, said:

“We are really excited to formalise our close collaboration with leaders of their fields through these appointments. Their further involvement with both our education and research undoubtedly will increase the quality of our work, providing an enhanced experience for our students and increasing the impact of our research”.

Dr Nicolas Larrosa, Director of the MSc Nuclear Science and Engineering programme at the University of Bristol, added:

“There are challenges associated with the development of more nuclear capacity that need to be tackled, from developing economies of scale to the development of new materials to underpin more efficient reactors.  

The appointment of these UK Nuclear experts will enormously support these efforts by bringing industrial steer and opening avenues for the development of new strategic partnerships with industry.

There will also be significant benefit to our MSc students as they will be exposed to industrial viewpoints and the ‘nuclear awareness’ necessary to excel in industry.”

Dr Mike Gorley – UK Atomic Energy Authority

Dr Mike Gorley is Chief Technologist at UKAEA.  Mike is a specialist in nuclear fusion technology with a strong knowledge base on fusion materials. Joining UKAEA in 2014, Mike directed the establishment of the Materials Technology Group and supporting Materials Testing Laboratories, and led the EUROfusion Engineering Data and Design Integration group to develop the baseline materials and the materials-design integration for the EU-DEMO project.

Dr Gorley said: “Fusion power is entering the delivery age, but it has some of the most complex engineering challenges ever faced by mankind; we need the best of the new and existing generation of engineers to solve these challenges.

I have been working with Bristol University for several years now and I’ve been highly impressed with the quality of the researchers and engineers, especially work from high temperature centre on materials development and complex testing. This appointment will allow me to deeply support and grow Bristol’s efforts in fusion research; I’m honoured to take up this position”.

Professor Andrew Sherry – National Nuclear Laboratory

Professor Andrew Sherry is a Special Advisor for NNL, having previously been its Chief Scientist. In this role he focuses on influencing the national nuclear agenda, including nuclear skills and the innovation in technology, culture and practice needed to ensure nuclear power plays its role in delivering net zero and restarting the economy.

He joined NNL from The University of Manchester where he was Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute, winning the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2012. With over 30 years' experience in the nuclear sector, Professor Sherry has lead programmes on science and innovation within both industry and academia.

Professor Sherry commented: “I have long been impressed with the quality and impact of nuclear research at the University of Bristol, and NNL welcomes the innovation they inspire in the areas of materials, engineering, sensors and robotics. I am delighted to formalise my association with this leading capability to help deliver even greater impact on the UK’s Net Zero ambitions.”

Dr Tim Stone CBE – Nuclear Industry Association Chairman

Dr Tim Stone is Chair of the NIA and also Nuclear Risk Insurers, which insures over 320 licenced sites globally. He has a wealth of experience in infrastructure, nuclear power and finance, with several years’ experience working closely with government and industry in a variety of roles.

Tim was a member of the board of Horizon Nuclear Power from 2014-2021 and of the Board of the European Investment Bank from 2003-2018. Until 2013, Tim was the Expert Chair of the Office for Nuclear Development in DECC and the Senior Advisor to five successive Secretaries of State responsible for energy.

Speaking about his appointment, Dr Stone said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed to help the Faculty of Engineering at Bristol. I’ve loved teaching since my DPhil days at Oxford, and I hope I can help inspire students at Bristol to create long-lasting and highly enjoyable careers in the nuclear industry.  

With the need to replace almost every single watt of primary energy production by 2050, nuclear is an essential component of that whether in creating electrical or heat energy and from that low-cost hydrogen. The opportunities are dramatic both in the UK and the rest of the world."

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