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William Walker

Emeritus Professor


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William Walker is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews which he joined in 1996.  He worked at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex from 1974 to 1996 with a two year secondment to the Royal Institute of Interanational Affairs (Chatham House) in London.   He has been recipient of numerous research grants and awards, including Leverhulme and Nobel Institute Research Fellowships.  He was member of the ESRC Priorities Board, 2002-06, and the RAE Panel on Politics and International Studies, 2008.


Keywords: Nuclear non-proliferation and arms control; international order; technological change and decision-making

Initially trained as an electrical engineer, William Walker has been involved in the study of technological innovation, energy policy, military industries and international nuclear relations during his academic career. In the 1990s, he became particularly well known for the studies carried out with David Albright and Frans Berkhout on international inventories, and governance, of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, the fissile materials used in nuclear weapons.  Since 2001, his research has mainly focused on how to conceptualise and respond to the problems that weapons of mass destruction pose for international order.  He has also been examining the political and institutional processes by which complex technological decisions and developmental paths become entrenched.


A Perpetual Menace: Nuclear Weapons and International Order (Routledge: London and New York, 2011)

Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Order, Adelphi Paper 370 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2004) 

(with Malcolm Chalmers) Uncharted Waters: The UK, Nuclear Weapons and the Scottish Question (Edinburgh: Tuckwell and Birlinn Press, 2001)

Nuclear Entrapment: THORP and the Politics of Commitment (London: Institute for Public Policy Research, 1999)

(with David Albright and Frans Berkhout) SIPRI, Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, 1996:  World Inventories, Capabilities and Policies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

(with David Albright and Frans Berkhout) SIPRI, World Inventories of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, 1992 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993)

(ed. with Christopher Freeman and Margaret Sharp) Technology and the Future of Europe (London: Frances Pinter, 1991)

(with Måns Lönnroth), Nuclear Power Struggles:  Industrial Competition and Proliferation Control (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983)

Industrial Innovation and International Trading Performance (Greenwich, Connecticut:  JAI Press, 1979)


‘The absence of a taboo on the possession of nuclear weapons’, Review of International Studies, 36:04, pp. 865-876

‘Nuclear weapons and the quest for international order’,  Die Friedens-Warte, 83:2, 2008, pp. 35-56

‘International nuclear order: A rejoinder’, International Affairs, 83:4, July 2007, pp. 747-756

‘Nuclear enlightenment and counter-enlightenment’, International Affairs, 83:3, May 2007, pp. 431-453 (lead article in a Special Issue)

(with Anthony J. Lang and Nicholas Rengger), ‘The role(s) of rules: some conceptual clarifications’, International Relations, 20:3, 2006, pp. 274-294

William Walker, 'Destination Unknown: Rokkasho and the International Future of Nuclear Reprocessing', International Affairs, 82:4, 743-761

‘Entrapment in large technology systems: institutional commitment and power relations’, Research Policy, 29, 2000, pp. 833-846

‘Nuclear order and disorder’, International Affairs, 76:4, October 2000, pp. 703-724

‘International nuclear relations after the Indian and Pakistani test explosions’, International Affairs, 74:3, July 1998, pp. 505-528

‘India’s nuclear labyrinth’, The Nonproliferation Review, 4:1, Fall 1996, pp. 61-78

‘Nuclear weapons and the former Soviet Republics', International Affairs, 68:2, Spring 1992, pp. 255-278

(with M Sharp), 'Thatcherism and technical advance:  reform without progress?’ Political Quarterly, 62:2, April-June 1991, pp. 262-272 (Part I) and 62:3, July-September 1991, pp. 318-337 (Part II)

'La France et le traité de non-prolifération', Economie et Humanisme, 288,  March/April 1986, pp. 48-61

'Information technology and energy supply', Energy Policy, 14:6, December 1986, pp. 466-488;  'Information technology and the use of energy', Energy Policy, 13:5, October 1985, pp 458-476

(with K. Pavitt), ‘Government policies towards industrial innovation: a review’, Research Policy, 6:1, 1976, pp. 11-97


Book Chapters

2003; William Walker; "Transparency in Nuclear Warheads and Materials: The Political and Technical Dimensions"; Nicholas Zarimpas (ed); Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK; 15-31

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