World Nuclear Association appoints new Director General

15 September 2020

Agneta Rising is standing down as director general of World Nuclear Association next month and today announced her replacement as Dr Sama Bilbao y León, currently head of the Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA).

Sama Bilbao y Leon (Image: World Nuclear Association)

Rising became Director General of World Nuclear Association on 1 January 2013. At that time, she told World Nuclear Association members, the whole nuclear industry was still suffering from the severe setback after Fukushima-Daiichi, and as a result the spirit in the industry was low. "I was determined to form the Association into a spearhead for the global nuclear industry and to bring on the leadership that this industry deserves," she said.

During her time as Director General, the Association has defined the Harmony goal, a joint vision for the global nuclear industry that will serve our business strategy for many years to come, and advanced its reputation and influence at governmental and international level.

"Looking back, we have built an Association that now has a full mandate from its members, which has also achieved the highest recognition from other global, intergovernmental and governmental organisations," Rising said. "This, together with the fact that our industry can provide the best low-carbon energy solution that the whole world is now looking for, is placing the Association in pole position. World Nuclear Association now has all it needs and is moving with full speed ahead!"

World Nuclear Association Chairman Philippe Knoche expressed the Association's "grateful thanks" to Agneta for eight years of diligent leadership in challenging times. "Her energy and direct relationships generated strong influence and recognition for our industry. Her work is a solid rock to build on," he said, adding that the Board had unanimously approved Bilbao y León's appointment.

"Sama has a very diverse professional experience, having worked in the nuclear industry, in academia, and in international organisations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Rising said. "Her background is in nuclear engineering, and she is well-versed in all topics relating to nuclear energy, including nuclear safety, energy and environmental policy, electricity markets and economics. She has been working for many years in an international environment, which makes her particularly suitable for this role," she added.

Rising will be the London-headquartered organisation's director general until the end of October, which will include a handover period with her successor. Bilbao y León will be director-general-in-waiting from 5 October.

In addition to her role at the NEA, which she joined in 2018, Bilbao y León has been the director of Nuclear Engineering Programmes at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2011. Prior to the NEA, she worked at the IAEA for two years, first as a nuclear power engineer and then as technical head of the Water Cooled Reactor Technology Development Unit. Between 2001 and 2008 she was a nuclear safety analysis engineer for Dominion Energy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News