ANS’s Bilbao y León picked to lead World Nuclear Association

September 15, 2020, 3:45PMANS News

Bilbao y León

ANS member Sama Bilbao y León, currently head of the Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, will succeed Agneta Rising as the World Nuclear Association’s director general, the WNA announced this morning.

Rising, who took the reins of the WNA in January 2013, is the former vice president, environment, at Vattenfall AB; cofounder and former president of Women in Nuclear; and former president of both the European Nuclear Society and Swedish Nuclear Society. The WNA said that she is stepping down at the end of October “to move to new endeavors.” Rising will continue as director general until the end of October, with Bilbao y León serving as “director general in waiting” beginning October 5.

Bilbao y León bio: A member of the American Nuclear Society since 1994, Bilbao y León has been a nuclear safety analysis engineer with Dominion Energy; director of the nuclear engineering program and associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University; and technical head of the Water Cooled Reactors Technology Development Unit at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Originally from Spain, she holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in energy technologies from the Polytechnic University of Madrid; a master’s and doctorate in nuclear engineering and engineering physics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison; and an MBA from Averett University. Her areas of expertise include nuclear thermal hydraulics for both light-water reactors and sodium-cooled reactors, nuclear reactor design, nuclear safety, and energy and environmental policy.

According to the WNA, Bilbao y León’s extensive experience working in international environments makes her particularly suited to lead the organization.


Quotes: “I am honored and delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead the World Nuclear Association,” Bilbao y León said. “Agneta leaves some very big shoes to fill, and I will do my best to do so. I look forward to working together with the association’s members, the board, and the secretariat to continue making the case for nuclear energy as a clean, reliable, cost-effective, and low-carbon energy source.”

Reflecting on her imminent departure, Rising commented, “It has been an immense privilege for me to lead the association, and I am confident that it is in a great place to continue its essential work. The association has achieved the highest recognition from other global, intergovernmental, and governmental organizations, and with the Harmony goal, we now have a joint vision for the global industry to move ahead with full speed.”

(The WNA’s Harmony goal is to build 1,000 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2050.)

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