Research Expertise and Interest

nuclear engineering, heat and mass transfer, reactor thermal hydraulics, nuclear reactor design, radioactive waste, nuclear materials management

Research Description

Per Peterson is the William S. Floyd and Jean McCallum Floyd Chair in Engineering.  His research focuses on problems in energy and environmental systems, including high-temperature reactors, high level nuclear waste processing, and nuclear materials management.

Prof. Peterson manages the U.C. Berkeley Thermal Hydraulics Research Laboratory, located in 4118 Etcheverry Hall, with additional experiments in 1140 Etcheverry.

Professor Peterson teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in heat and mass transfer, fluid dynamics, reactor thermal hydraulics, and reactor safety. The courses focus on nuclear applications. 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.

Specific ongoing research projects include studies of heat transport and fluid mechanics in liquid-fluoride salt cooled 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.

In the News

An Energy Strategy that Can Take the Heat

Water and energy are tightly linked in the 21st century. Per Peterson’s research seeks to develop water-saving ways of cooling energy plants, both nuclear and solar.  

Nuclear commission outlines new strategies for managing radioactive waste

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has released a draft report that recommends significant changes to the U.S. strategy for managing the country’s growing stockpile of high-level nuclear waste. Per Peterson, UC Berkeley professor and chair of nuclear engineering, is one of 15 members of the commission, which was formed in 2010 after plans to store nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain were halted.

Rethinking nuclear power

With climate change concerns escalating, fossil fuel supplies diminishing and electricity consumption expected to double in 10 years, nuclear power has regained some of its lost luster.

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