Educated at Scarborough College and Magdalene, Cambridge, graduating in 1979 having read Natural Sciences and specialised in psychology. He worked as a chemistry teacher before joining the Atomic Energy Authority in 1987. In 1995 he joined Imperial College as a Senior Research Fellow and in 1999 became a Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House, where he is now an Associate Fellow. He is a regular media contributor on energy and nuclear matters, notably during the recent crisis at Fukushima in Japan.
Among his publications are two books co-written with the late Peter Beck: Double or Quits – the global future of civil nuclear energy and Civil nuclear energy – fuel of the future or relic of the past? Recent papers include Electricity – social service or market commodity (2010) and Have we been here before – nuclear power after Fukushima (2012). From 2007 to 2011 he was part of a consortium carrying out a government-funded project on sustainable nuclear energy.