Peter C. Burns

Henry J. Massman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences

CENTER: "Actinide Center of Excellence (ACE)"


The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has named the University of Notre Dame one of the two Stewardship Science Academic Alliances (SSAA) Centers of Excellence program funding recipients for their work in High Energy Density Physics and Radiochemistry. Notre Dame’s Actinide Center of Excellence (ACE), led by Professor Peter Burns, focuses on research in nuclear chemistry and radioactive materials through the integration of physical experiments and computer simulation, which will enable advanced experimental activities where students will be trained in key areas of stewardship science.


Professor Burns' research focuses on several aspects of actinides, including their materials science, mineralogy, geochemistry, environmental transport, nanoscale control, and aspects of national security. The Burns group studies natural uranium and thorium minerals, and a broad range of materials that are synthesized, containing thorium, uranium, neptunium, or plutonium. The group uses many diffraction, scattering, and spectroscopic techniques to study actinides at various length scales.

Professor Burns is The Henry J. Massman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and concurrent professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He was named director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy) in July 2014. An accomplished researcher and administrator, Professor Burns has served since 2009 as director of the Department of Energy funded, and recently renewed, Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) Materials Science of Actinides.