Charles Peterson is highly regarded in the international nuclear power industry as a market-leading expert and deal-maker with extensive experience in managing a wide array of legal, technical, and business issues relating to nuclear power. He is one of the few lawyers whose credentials include having advised on the UAE and Saudi nuclear power development projects, which are two of the largest modern nuclear projects to-date. Over the course of his long professional career, he has been a chief engineer on nuclear submarines, nuclear power plant engineer, energy business executive, academic, and advisor to various government agencies. In addition to project work, he has experience in litigation, arbitration, and mediation in the energy sector.
Mr. Peterson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1960, and after service as the chief engineer on several nuclear submarines, he received M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from Stanford. He served as the General Counsel of General Electric’s Nuclear Fuel Department from 1975-1978. From 1978 to 1983, he served as Division General Counsel of GE Aircraft Equipment, where he was involved in sales of aircraft equipment to the United States and foreign governments. From 1983 to 1987, Mr. Peterson served as the first Executive Vice President of the U.S. subsidiary of Cogema, the French nuclear fuel company which became part of AREVA. From 1987 to 1995, he served as President and CEO of NUEXCO, Inc., where he oversaw NUEXCO’s rise to become the world’s largest nuclear fuel trading company.
When Mr. Peterson entered private legal practice, he developed a practice based on drafting and negotiating contracts for the construction of nuclear power plants. He used the contracts he developed at General Electric and updated the contracts with the lessons learned from each new nuclear power plant. He started with the contracts for Mitsubishi’s and Toshiba’s nuclear power plants in the United States and extended that with the lessons learned from the Little Willow NPP Project for MidAmerican Energy (Warren Buffet) and the negotiation of the Akkuyu project in Turkey. In 2006, Mr. Peterson was engaged to help ENEC on the Barakah project. As one of ENEC’s top managers, he played a critical role in the development of the numerous contracts for the nuclear power program in the United Arab Emirates. He was one of ENEC’s lead negotiators for the purchase of the Barakah nuclear power plant and was formally recognized for his work with a commendation from the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Between 2014 and 2018, he assisted K.A.Care in its efforts to develop a nuclear power program in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Peterson was head of the international energy practice for the Pillsbury law firm for over ten years. He recently returned from teaching nuclear law in Seoul, Korea. In March 2019, he took a position as Senior Counsel at Covington & Burling in Silicon Valley. He is an active member of the nuclear industry community and has an extensive network of contacts at both industry and government levels in a number of countries stemming from his high-profile body of work and his continuing advisory and teaching roles. Mr. Peterson serves as instructor for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Nuclear Energy Management courses and maintains a consultative relationship with several governments and international nuclear companies.
Nuclear Civil Engineering and Construction
Andrew Whittaker is a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at UB. Whittaker is a licensed civil and structural engineer in California. Whittaker brings wide expertise in the field of nuclear structures and nuclear power plants; reinforced concrete and steel-plate concrete composite construction; regulatory guidance for analysis, design and testing of seismic isolation systems; and experience in modeling nuclear structures for beyond design basis loadings, including earthquake, air blast, ground shock and impact; numerical modeling; soil-structure interaction; fluid-structure interaction; seismic risk and safety assessment of nuclear structures; development of nuclear standards on analysis (ASCE Standard 4, ASCE Nuclear Standards Committee) and design (ASCE 43, ACI 349). Whittaker chairs the ASCE Nuclear Standards Committee. PI Whittaker has worked on projects related to RC and SC construction for the US National Science Foundation and DOE, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. His work on seismic protective systems for nuclear power plants was funded by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE, and the American Concrete Institute.
Advanced Nuclear Technology Commercialization
Dr. Ashley Finan is Executive Director of the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, which supports entrepreneurialism and the accelerated innovation and commercialization of advanced nuclear energy systems with the goal of providing more economically competitive, carbon-free energy to the world. Her passion and commitment to deploying a new generation of innovative nuclear energy systems is coupled with her deep knowledge of the underlying technology and public policy landscape. Dr. Finan was previously director of nuclear innovation at Clean Air Task Force and has been serving as interim policy director for the NIA. She successfully led several projects identifying opportunities for improvements in nuclear energy research and development, regulation, demonstration, and international partnerships. She holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Richard Jefferys MA, PhD, MIMechE, C.Eng, FREng. His career spans over 40 years in energy, specialising in offshore structure analysis, design and projects, and subsequently, clean energy, including renewables, energy storage, carbon capture, storage and utilisation, and water technologies.
He was awarded undergraduate (Engineering) and PhD (Wave Energy) degrees by the University of Cambridge and subsequently worked in wave and tidal power research at CEGB (national utility). After six years as a lecturer (tenured) in Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at University College London he moved to work in offshore platform design, analysis and major projects at Conoco, based in London and Houston. To broaden his experience he worked as an economist in the Conoco Europe Gas and Power group, focusing on valuation of optionality in contract, gas market analysis and project economics. As a member of the Conoco Europe Sustainability team, he evaluated novel technology options, initiated projects in wind technology and contributed to company GHG policy formation.
After the Conoco-Phillips merger, he worked as a Technology Director in the ConocoPhillips Emerging Technology group, initiated projects in Carbon Capture, Compressed Air Energy Storage and other clean technologies such as biochar. He was also deeply involved in planning for a major IGCC / CHP with carbon capture project at a ConocoPhillips refinery in UK. As a Technology Director in the COP Technology Ventures team, he evaluated a wide range of novel clean and conventional technologies, and reviewed numerous energy storage, CO2 capture (including mineralisaton), gas to liquids and water related startups as potential investments. During much of this time, he was a judge for the ConocoPhillips (UK) St Andrews Prize for the environment, evaluating diverse projects in sustainability and development.
After retiring from COP, he worked for a year on the conceptual design and modelling of an energy storage scheme at the University of Edinburgh and is now an independent consultant, focused on energy storage, carbon capture, renewables and offshore engineering. He has received best paper awards from OMAE and DOT conferences, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2016) and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh (2018)
Jessica Lovering is a doctoral student in Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on how commercial nuclear trade affects international security standards and how very small nuclear reactors could be deployed on microgrids. She is also a Fellow with the Energy for Growth Hub, looking at how advanced nuclear can be deployed in sub-Saharan Africa. She was formerly the Director of the Energy Program at the Breakthrough Institute, a pioneering research institute changing how people think about energy and the environment. Her work at Breakthrough sought policies to spur innovation in nuclear power technologies to drive down costs and accelerate deployment as part of a solution to climate change and economic development. She has a bachelor’s degree in Astrophysics from University of California Berkeley and an Master’s degree in Energy Policy from the University of Colorado.