Sama Bilbao y León is the new director general of the World Nuclear Association (Photo: WNA)The World Nuclear Association said on 15 September that Agneta Rising is standing down as director general from October and will be replaced by Dr Sama Bilbao y León, currently head of the Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA).

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. Rising said at the time she was determined to form the Association into a spearhead for the global nuclear industry and to bring on the leadership that this industry deserves.

During Rising's time as WNA director general, the Association has defined the Harmony goal (for nuclear power to provide 25% of electricity before 2050), and advanced its reputation and influence at governmental and international level.

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. Before joining the NEA she worked at the International Atomic Energy Agency 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 US-based Dominion Energy.

Photo: Sama Bilbao y León will become the World Nuclear Association's next director general (Credit: World Nuclear Association)