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Senior Fellows

Deborah Hill was appointed as a Fellow in the Spring of 2013 and subsequently a Senior Fellow in the Summer of 2017, covering the area of Criticality Safety. She is currently the Criticality Technical Leader within the FCS Safety, Security and Safeguards team, based at the Preston Laboratory. 


Following the completion of a PhD in x-ray physics at the University of Warwick, Deborah joined British Nuclear Fuels plc (one of the precursor companies to NNL) in 1997 as a graduate trainee in the criticality team. She has since amassed over 18 years of experience providing technical criticality input to a multitude of projects for numerous national and international customers. She is currently a Principal Criticality Safety Consultant and the Criticality Technical Leader within the Safety, Security and Safeguards team; she is responsible for the technical leadership of a large team of criticality specialists, including defining the technical training and assurance requirements plus shaping the technical direction of the team. She was appointed as a Laboratory Fellow for Criticality Safety in early 2013.

Key Areas of Expertise

Throughout her career, Deborah has developed considerable experience in both conducting and managing a wide range of operational criticality support to a variety of national and international customers, including shaping site policy and liaising with the nuclear regulators. Using this experience, she has become heavily involved in the development of safety case methodologies and industry standards / guidance. She is now recognised as a national and international expert in the field of criticality safety, having held a number of governance positions on key UK and US criticality committees.

As part of her Laboratory Fellow role, she has been heavily involved in driving the skills agenda with NNL; she has been responsible for the technical community input to the Graduate Development Programme, and is currently the Chair of the NNL Mentoring Community of Practice.    

Key Achievements

Deborah’s achievements include:

  • Played a key role in significantly increasing both the numbers and capability of the NNL criticality team in the late 2000s
  • Chair of the UK Working Party on Criticality
  • Has held a number of positions on the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Nuclear Criticality Safety Division (NCSD). Currently the NCSD Program Chair, and is the sole candidate for the Division Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect position in 2016/17
  • Awarded the inaugural NNL Impact Award for Service in Spring 2012

Key Positions Held

2006–2013: NNL Criticality Technical Team Manager and then NNL Criticality Business Manager

2013–present: NNL Criticality Technical Manager and then NNL Criticality Technical Leader

2013–2017: NNL Fellow for Criticality Safety

2017–present: NNL Senior Fellow for Criticality Safety

2006–2015: Chair of the UK Working Party on Criticality

2009–present : Various roles on the ANS NCSD, including Executive Committee (2009 – 2012), Secretary (2012/13), Treasurer (2013/14), Program Chair (2015–2017), Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect (2016/17), Chair (2017/18) and Co-Chair of the ANS.8-20 Working Group (2015–present).   

Selected Key Publications

  1. D.A. Hill, Proc. International Conference on Nuclear Criticality Safety, “The Role of Integrated Criticality Training and Support to the Refurbishment of the Enriched Uranium Residues Recovery Plant at Westinghouse, Springfields Fuels Limited”, p200 (2007).

  2. D.A. Hill, Proc. Nuclear Criticality Safety Division Topical Meeting on Realism, Robustness and the Nuclear Renaissance, “Criticality and Fire-Fighting – Recent Developments at Westinghouse, SFL” (2009). 

  3. J. Venner, S.B. Clark and D.A. Hill, Proc. International Conference on Nuclear Criticality Safety, “Optimising Storage Arrangements for Low Enriched Uranic Residues Subject to Limited Slab Loading Control” (2011).

  4. D.A. Hill, Proc. International Conference on Nuclear Criticality Safety, “Recent Activities of the UK Working Party on Criticality” (2015).

  5. D.A. Hill & T.G. Wadeson, Proc. International Conference on Nuclear Criticality Safety, “The Application of ALARP to Legacy Residues Recovery Processes on the Springfields Site in the United Kingdom” (2015).