THE FUTURE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY: Interview with Peter Hosemann

The Future of Nuclear Energy: Interview with Peter Hosemann


If you get cancer treatment today, it’s very likely you will get injected with a radioactive substance. That technology is born out of the nuclear enterprise. Without reactors, you wouldn’t have it. There are numerous examples of the benefits of nuclear engineering beyond just nuclear power.
Dr. Peter Hosemann, Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at University of California, Berkeley

In 2000, nuclear energy from just 30 countries provided approximately 15 percent of worldwide electricity capacity. But by 2019, its share had fallen to 10 percent, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicting that without intervention it would fall even further, to 5 percent, by 2040. That represents a significant drop in what could be an important source of clean energy.

“A nuclear power plant doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it can create a tremendous amount of energy, with a carbon footprint that is extremely low,” says Dr. Peter Hosemann, a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at University of California Berkeley, where he is also the current chair.

Nuclear energy is the second-largest low-carbon power source in the world, second only to hydropower. According to the IEA, low-carbon electricity generation has to increase to 85 percent of the world’s energy, from its 36 percent share today, in order to stave off the most calamitous effects of climate change. Of major low-carbon energy sources, nuclear power is the least dependent upon geography.

“I believe the use of nuclear energy will increase as we become more serious about climate change and carbon emission,” Dr. Hosemann says. “I don’t think we have much of a choice.”

Dr. Peter Hosemann is a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California Berkeley, where he is also the department chair. He received his MS and PhD degrees in material science from Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria.

Prior to joining the Department of Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley, Dr. Hosemann was a graduate research assistant and a post-doc at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His research features experimental material science for nuclear applications, with a focus on the structural materials used for nuclear components.