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ANS Vice President Candidates Offer Statements

The nominees for vice president/president-elect in the 2018 ANS national election—Marilyn C. Kray, vice president of nuclear technology and strategy for Exelon Generation, and Amir Shahkarami, president and chief executive officer of CASe Global Partners—have offered the following statements.

Ballots for the 2018 election will be sent electronically on March 5 and must be submitted by noon (CDT) on Tuesday, April 17.

Marilyn C. Kray

I am very excited to be a candidate for vice president/president-elect, and I am honored to be nominated along with Amir. This is a challenging time for our industry, but also a time for opportunity. Never before has the Society been positioned to play such a significant role in the future of nuclear energy. Whether you are a reactor engineer at a utility, a radiologist in the medical field, or a research analyst at a national laboratory, you are impacted by the significant political and economic shifts occurring in nuclear power generation right now.

Despite the current challenges, I believe that our technology will be called upon in the future to deliver safe, clean, and reliable generation. For that, we must take actions now to ensure that our Society is ready. Below, I outline four key imperatives.

We must modernize our Society to be more inviting to a younger, more technologically social generation. We must work to understand the needs of our younger members and provide the products, services, and support they want as part of their membership. We need to focus on transitional support so that students can move into the nuclear workforce with ease. We also need to provide ongoing professional development opportunities that allow them to thrive, grow, and change within our industry. We must make our membership valuable.

We must rethink our products, services, and meetings to provide more value to all our members. We must ensure our Society is a resource at all points of a nuclear career and in all of our varied industries. Membership should be enticing to anyone using our shared technology. Our annual meetings should have agendas and tracks that appeal to all sectors. We must make our Society relevant. 

We must advance the education and advocacy arm of our organization to become the voice of the nuclear scientist in a world cluttered with political biases, stereotypes, and unfounded fears. We must advance curriculum and educational opportunities from the middle school level through the university level to ensure America’s youth have the facts. As the community of scientists respected for our knowledge and standards surrounding the use of nuclear technology, we must assert ourselves and rebrand our technology. We must make our technology interesting.

We must preserve our existing fleet of reactors while developing future technology and show their value to society. In addition to policy changes, our industry must continue to explore ways to make our fleet more economical. This innovative spirit is the foundation of advanced nuclear reactor design work. We must make innovation synonymous with nuclear.

The challenges we face are great. However, allowing them to deter our actions would invite a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am committed to continue the great work of Bob Coward and John Kelly and to ensure our readiness for the continued use of our technology in each of its applications. I would be grateful for the opportunity to lead ANS through this challenging and changing environment.

Amir Shahkarami

ANS is 11,000-plus members strong, and I have always appreciated the diverse, highly educated, and dynamic group of individuals that makes up our membership. This strength presents us with an opportunity to elevate our role as advocates for nuclear science and industry.

In collaboration with the ANS vision statement, I am proposing a three-prong process.

Industry: Our industry is an amalgamation of members from research laboratories, academia, government agencies, and industry. We can build new bridges among these areas and strengthen existing connections to leverage and integrate knowledge.

Community: International societies and communities play an important role. We can promote awareness and understanding of the application of nuclear science and technology by increasing collaboration among them.

Youth: We must establish formal knowledge retention and transfer programs for current and future generations. Engaging local chapters to work with our younger members to provide necessary mentorships, as well as the associated technological tools that reflect how today’s youth communicate, will play an important role in this process.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with amazing leaders. What I have learned from these experiences I have tried to share with others through being active in the nuclear community.

I have taken on many roles since I joined ANS 25 years ago. I served twice as a member of the Board of Directors; as the general chair of ANS Annual Meetings, the International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants (ICAPP), the LWR Fuel Performance Meeting (Top Fuel), and Utility Working Conferences; and as chair of the Utility Integration Special Committee. I am also a proud recipient of the ANS Utility Leadership Award.

Since retiring from Exelon in 2014 as chief executive officer of Exelon Nuclear Partners and senior vice president of Exelon Generation, I have continued to play a role in our industry by serving on the review boards of 23 nuclear units (both operating and under construction), chairing Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Nuclear Safety Advisory Board, and teaching and mentoring at the World Nuclear University Summer Institute and WNU short courses. I am currently assisting the International Atomic Energy Agency to develop a nuclear program for several member states. In addition, I continue to provide consultation services to several global nuclear facilities and institutions and to coach international nuclear executives.

Coming from that experience, I believe our success will be directly driven by the engagement and leadership of our local chapters. I will visit them and promote a synergistic relationship, welcoming their important feedback. In this way, we can check and adjust for better alignment and build on the already strong connections that have developed among the scientists, scholars, and leaders of our organization.

As ANS members, it is in our best interest to continue to partner together. Our role as a scientific and educational organization must be one that is as vibrant and diverse as the individuals who make this organization successful.

The future of the global nuclear industry is filled with promise. I’d like this opportunity to work with you as your vice president/president-elect to fulfill that promise and turn it into reality.

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