O Hwang Kwon, currently a first-year Master’s student in Prof. Won Sik Yang’s group, is working on a project related to ‘Nuclear Reactor Simulation and Design.’ Kwon, who believes nuclear reactors for the next generation are innovative, says, “The way we produce clean energy and sustainable electricity from the atoms are basically the same, but nuclear reactors became more efficient, safer, and eco-friendly.” Prof. Yang’s group is currently working on checking the feasibility of a new conceptual molten salt reactor designed to produce 2500 MW of energy with additional innovative features. Kwon says, “Though it is on the first step of the project, I am glad that new ideas to improve the safety and efficiency of the reactors are relentlessly released.”
Kwon, who hails from the Republic of Korea, completed his graduation in 2018 from the Korea Military Academy. In 2021, he was selected as a beneficiary of a governmental oversea scholarship for nuclear engineering in view of the current crisis in South Korea. He drew his inspiration to pursue the aforementioned research at U-M for a number of reasons, mainly because, having majored in applied physics, neutronics has been the most familiar subtopic from NERS for him. He was also quite impressed by the work of nuclear engineers to provide sustainable energy with developed reactors. Kwon says, “Now, as a member of the NERS community, I feel a strong responsibility to tackle the problems we are facing.”, and firmly feels that their ongoing project would not only serve to be the milestone for the next generation reactors but also provide sufficient and affordable energy to the people.
Kwon, who just joined the department, wishes to apply for GSI next year to help students start their new journey. Outside of academics, Kwon enjoys reading books, meditation, and lifting weights. Having been recently introduced to the world of meditation, he feels it gives him the opportunity to reorganize himself. He finds the community here at U-M amazingly supportive. “As an international student, there are many obstacles to overcome. Language, classes, projects, homework, etc.” Kwon says, “If it were not for all the help, my student life would not be enjoyable.”
Kwon is grateful for his advisor, Prof. Yang, who, according to him, “inspires students in many different ways.” He particularly follows his advisor’s advice of being ‘precise and concise’ while researching and is particularly fascinated with Prof. Yang’s preparedness and diligence apart from his broad knowledge of nuclear engineering. Kwon adds, “I hope I can learn as much as I can from him during graduate study.” Besides his advisor, Kwon also thanks his group mate, Ryan. He says, “Whenever I needed help, I reached out to Ryan. He never hesitated to give me a hand.”