Per Peterson

Floyd Professor of Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

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Per Peterson is a nuclear technology expert who studies innovation to improve nuclear energy and fuel cycle technologies. At UC Berkeley, he performs research related to high-temperature fission energy systems, and studies topics related to the safety and security of nuclear materials and waste management. He recently participated as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, which provided recommendations on a new path forward for US policy to manage high level waste and spent fuel. He has also participated on National Research Council committees providing advice on a variety of nuclear-related topics. He has served as a member and chair of numerous advisory committees for the national laboratories, including LLNL, LANL, INL, ORNL, and PNNL. He participated in the development of the Generation IV Roadmap in 2002 as a member of the Evaluation Methodology Group, and currently co-chairs its Proliferation Resistance and Physical Protection Working Group. His research in the 1990's contributed to the development of the passive safety systems used in the GE ESBWR and Westinghouse AP-1000 reactor designs. 

Professor Peterson teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in heat and mass transfer, fluid dynamics, reactor thermal hydraulics, and reactor safety. His research interests involve issues in reactor safety and licensing, high-temperature reactor technology, nuclear air combined cycle power conversion, condensation and large-scale mixing processes in advanced passive reactors, and nuclear materials management and security. Currently his research group studies heat transport and fluid mechanics in fluoride salt cooled high-temperature reactors; gas-Brayton power conversion for nuclear systems; performance based, technology neutral regulation and licensing of advanced reactors; seismic base isolation and modular construction methods; and security and safeguards technologies for nuclear materials and facilities.

Publications by Per Peterson


P.F. Peterson, “Elements of the Proliferation Resistance and Physical Protection (PR&PP) Evaluation Methodology,” Nuclear Technology, Vol. 179, pp. 45-51 (2012).


H. Zhao and P.F. Peterson, “Advanced Multi-Effect Distillation System for Desalination Using Waste Heat From Gas Brayton Cycles,” Nuclear Technology, Vol. 180, pp. 422-436 (2012).


N. Halecky, J. Birkholzer, P.F. Peterson, “Natural convection in tunnels at Yucca Mountain and impact on drift seepage,” Nuclear Technology, Vol. 174, No. 3, pp. 327-341 (2011). 


E. Keldrauk, J. Wei, P.F. Peterson, and B. Stojadinovic, “Seismic and Aircraft Impact Protection of Generation IV Nuclear Reactors using Base Isolation and Energy Dissipation Technologies,” 9th US National Earthquake Engineering Conference, Toronto, July 25-29, 2010.


P. Bardet and P.F. Peterson, "Options for Scaled Experiments for High Temperature Liquid Salt and Helium Fluid Mechanics and Convective Heat Transfer," Nuclear Technology, Vol. 163, pp. 344 – 357 (2008). 


C.W. Forsberg, P. Pickard, and P.F. Peterson, "Molten-Salt-Cooled Advanced High-Temperature Reactor for Production of Hydrogen and Electricity," Nuclear Technology Vol. 144, pp. 289-302 (2003). 


J. Woodcock, P.F. Peterson, D.R. Spencer, "Quantifying the Effects of Break Source Flow Rates on AP600 Containment Stratification," Nuclear Technology, Vol. 134, pp. 37-48 (2001).