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Earth Day Q+A with NERS PhD Candidate Kelsy Green

Kelsy talks about her passion for the environment and for zero-carbon energy sources like nuclear.

Kelsy Green portrait
Kelsy Green

Kelsy Green is a second year Ph.D. student in the U-M Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences. She grew up in California and received a Bachelors of Science in nuclear engineering from UC Berkeley. She loves running her dog, traveling, scuba diving, reading, and listening to podcasts on political philosophy.

What inspires your passion for the environment?
I am passionate for a very simple reason—I love nature! There is nothing like the feeling of hiking through a forest or scuba diving in the ocean. All humans have a deep connection to nature, and for me that translates to passion for environment conservation and sustainability. I am passionate about helping humans re-establish balance with and cultivate appreciation for the environment so that future generations of humans and animals can continue to enjoy the Earth as well.

How might your research help the planet?
My research focuses on materials and manufacturing processes to create the next generation of alloys for advanced reactors. Material degradation is the lifetime-limiting factor for reactors. So if my research can help develop new alloys that are capable of improved safety and increased reactor lifetime, then that can help progress the licensing and deployment of new reactors worldwide. This is significant because nuclear reactors provide an immense amount of energy (one uranium fuel pellet creates as much energy as one ton of coal) and nuclear energy is completely carbon-free. Just think about that—no need for coal polluting our water, air, soil, and lungs! Nuclear energy is also a great resource to be used in tandem with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

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