NE Seminar: “Nuclear Engineering on the Frontier of Commercial Fusion Energy”

Date(s) - 03/30/2023
1:55 pm - 2:55 pm

Rhines 125


Michael Hua, Ph.D.

Radiation Safety and Nuclear Science Team Leader
Helion Energy

Dr. Michael Hua received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the
University of Michigan in 2018, 2020, and 2021; during this time, Michael’s studies were supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program in addition to fellowships from the Consortium for
Verification Technology, and the Consortium for Monitoring, Technology, and Verification. His thesis focused on neutron detection and neutron noise methods to characterize multiplying assemblies of fissionable material.

After defending his thesis, Michael joined Helion Energy, a fusion energy startup near Seattle, as a neutron diagnostic scientist. He now leads Helion’s Radiation Safety and Nuclear Science Team, which includes thrust areas of diagnostics, nuclear materials science, isotope purification, and radiation safety. Michael is also involved in regulatory affairs for the burgeoning fusion industry, which includes engagement and public presentations before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and International Atomic Energy Agency.


Helion Energy is a fusion energy startup based in Everett, WA, and is pursuing commercial fusion energy generation via field reversed configuration plasmas. This talk will provide an overview of Helion and its approach to fusion, Michael’s path to Helion, and what establishing a radiation safety and nuclear science program (e.g., diagnostics, isotope/tritium management, radiation safety, nuclear materials science) at a fusion company entails.

This talk also overviews regulatory affairs, including ongoing work by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to decide how fusion should be regulated and broader engagement (e.g., on nonproliferation and safeguards) with the international community via the International Atomic Energy Agency.