Female scientists and engineers pioneered the nuclear and radiological fields, with leaders and innovators such as Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Lise Meitner, among many others, establishing the foundation of modern nuclear science and technology. Women continue to make vital contributions to the sector, but their visibility and overall numbers in the sector remain limited, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and leadership roles. The lack of diversity in the sector represents a loss of potential innovation and growth and a critical threat to the viability of the field.
On 8 March 2023 the NEA released a report featuring the first publicly available international data on gender balance in the nuclear sector. The report is based on data collected from over 8,000 women in the nuclear workforce in 32 countries, as well as human resources data from 96 nuclear organisations in 17 countries. Based on the findings, a comprehensive, evidence-driven policy framework is proposed with practical recommendations.
The NEA publication was launched with a webinar gathering leaders from across the global nuclear sector, including government, industry, and academia. A discussion of the key findings featured diverse perspectives on the report’s call to action for the international community.
13:30-13:40 Opening Remarks
13:30-13:50 Presentation of the NEA report
13:50-14:00 Keynote speech
14:00-14:45 Panel Discussion
Moderator: Fiona Rayment, Chief Science and Technology Officer, National Nuclear Laboratory (United Kingdom)
14:45-14:55 Closing keynote speech
14:55-15:00 Concluding remarks
Melina Belinco, Women in Nuclear Global Vice President and Deputy Manager of International Organisations, National Atomic Energy Commission of the Republic of Argentina (CNEA)
Melina Belinco is a specialist in International Co-operation, with over 15 years of experience in Technical Co-operation working at the main Argentine R&D institution in the nuclear field, the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) of the Republic of Argentina, currently as National Liaison Officer to the IAEA and Deputy Manager of International Organisations. From June 2016 to December 2017 she was appointed to undertake a special assignment to support the planning, design, implementation, and closure of both national and regional projects at the IAEA Department of Technical Co-operation in Vienna.
Melina is the current Vice-President of Women in Nuclear (WiN) Global. She has been a member of the Executive Committee of WiN Argentina since 2014, acting as General Co-Chair of the Joint IYNC 2018/26th WiN Global Annual Conference (IYNCWIN18) held in Argentina, and for the first time in Latin American and the Caribbean. She is a member of the NEA Gender Balance Task Group, currently as co-lead of one of the sub-groups. She was recruited as an IAEA expert in capacity building activities to strengthen the leadership skills of women and young people in the nuclear field, and was a mentor of the WNU Summer Institute 2022. She is also a Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and University of Salvador (USAL).
Aleshia Duncan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Nuclear Energy Policy and Co-operation, U.S. Department of Energy; Chair of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC)
Aleshia Duncan leads the international civil nuclear engagement and creates opportunities for the commercial export of U.S. nuclear reactor technology. She has held two overseas posts. Most recently, she spent three years in France at the Nuclear Energy Agency where she served as the Director General’s Senior Advisor for Multilateral Co-ordination and the Secretary of the Steering Committee. She was also posted at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, for three years and served as the Director for Nuclear Operations. She managed all civil nuclear co-operation with the Government of Japan before, during and after its nuclear accident and was awarded the Secretary’s Honor Award for her efforts in supporting the co-ordination of the United States crisis response to the accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi.
She has an extensive background in human resources in the areas of employee and labor relations, workforce diversity and contract negotiation, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Arts from Trinity University in Washington, DC.
Yeonhee Hah, Vice President for Global Activities, Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS)
Yeonhee Hah has 30 years of extensive expertise in areas such as international co-operation, public communication, education and training, regulatory policy and development, and interaction with various stakeholders. From 2010 to 2014, she chaired the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations. From 2015-2020, she served as the Head of the NEA Division of Radiological Protection and Human Aspects of Nuclear Safety, where she actively advocated for gender balance in nuclear sector. She is currently a board member of WIN-Korea and a Korean representative to the International Gender Champion Impact Group on Gender Equality in Nuclear Regulatory Agencies.
William D. Magwood, IV, NEA Director-General
William D. Magwood, IV took up his duties as Director-General of the NEA on1 September 2014. He has extensive experience in both the regulatory and developmental aspects of nuclear energy, including at the international level. From 2010 to 2014, he served as one of the five Commissioners appointed by the US President and confirmed by the US Senate to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). While a commissioner, he advocated the importance of nuclear regulatory independence and the necessity of maintaining strong, credible and technically sound nuclear regulation in the United States and all countries that use nuclear power.
Prior to his appointment at the NRC, from 2005 to 2010 he provided independent strategic and policy advice to US and international clients on energy, environmental and technology policy issues. During this time, he also sat on various advisory groups and provided technical and policy advice to members of the US Congress on nuclear research, education and climate change policy.
From 1998 to 2005he was Director of Nuclear Energy at the US Department of Energy (DOE). During his tenure, he launched several important initiatives including the US Nuclear Power 2010 programme and the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). He was also actively involved in the work of the NEA, serving as a Steering Committee bureau member from 1999 to 2003, and as Chair in 2004 and early 2005.
Prior to his experience at the DOE, he managed electric utility research and nuclear policy programmes at the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, DC, and was a scientist at Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and English from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.
Florence Maher, Secretariat of the NEA Task Group on Improving the Gender Balance in the Nuclear Sector
Florence Maher is a social scientist at the NEA, where she works to advance international co-operation on the human aspects of nuclear safety and improving gender balance in nuclear energy. Prior to her current position, she was a 2018-2020 Rotary Peace Fellow at the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, researching multi-stakeholder dialogue on policy processes. From 2011-2018 she was a career foreign service officer with the US Department of State, with assignments in Mexico, Italy, Honduras, and Washington, DC. She holds a Master’s degree in public policy and social research from the International Christian University and Bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from Howard University in Washington, DC.
Lisa McBride, Vice President, Country Leader, GE Hitachi SMR Canada and President, Women in Nuclear Canada
Lisa McBride is the Country Leader, GE Hitachi’s SMR Canada business. In her role, she provides the vision and strategy to lead the deployment and implementation of the BWRX-300 Small Modular Reactor in Canada. She leads the collaboration with customers, Canadian government, industry, and partners and provides leadership and oversight of the GEH SMR Canada business operations.
She has over 19 years of experience in the nuclear industry, starting her career with Ontario Power Generation. Her drive and commitment have propelled her into several key leadership roles in both nuclear and corporate functions. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership from the University of Guelph.
Lisa McBride is also the President of Women in Nuclear (WiN) Canada. In this role, she provides vision, strategic direction, and oversight of the day-to-day operations of WiN Canada, an organisation comprised of over 4,500 members across Canada. She is a Director on the Canadian Nuclear Association Board, the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries Board, the WiN Global Board and is also the Chair of the Women for STEM Council at Ontario Tech University.
Fiona Rayment, Chief Science and Technology Officer, National Nuclear Laboratory (United Kingdom)
Fiona Rayment has dedicated 30 years to the nuclear sector with extensive strategic and operational experience. She is a chartered chemist and engineer with a PhD in chemistry from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry and of the UK Nuclear Institute. She has an MBA from Manchester Business School.
She has recently served as a member of Euratom’s Science and Technology Committee, the Idaho National Laboratory's Nuclear Science and Technology Advisory Committee, the American Nuclear Society Board, the UK Nuclear Institute and is immediate past chair of the UK’s Nuclear Skills Strategy Group. Her other roles across the sector include being a member of the Nuclear Industry Council and the Office of Nuclear Regulation Chief Nuclear Inspector’s Independent Advisory Panel. She is chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Energy Division at CEA - the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, a Non-Executive Member of the UK Space Agency Steering Board and Patron of Women in Nuclear UK.
In addition to representing the UK at a variety of international meetings, she is a regular keynote and plenary speaker at international nuclear conferences and is a vice chair of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Steering Committee Bureau and Policy Director of the Generation IV International Forum. She has long advocated widening participation in science and engineering and champions our sector-leading approach to diversity and inclusion. She was awarded an OBE in 2017 and the French Légion d’Honneur in 2020.
Aditi Verma, Assistant Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan
Dr Aditi Verma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan. Her research group examines how nuclear technologies specifically and complex systems broadly—and their institutional infrastructures—can be designed in more socially engaged and creative ways. To this end, her research group is working on developing a more fundamental understanding of the early stages of the design process to improve design practice and pedagogy and improve the tools with which designers of complex sociotechnical systems work.
She was previously a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center's Project on Managing the Atom and the International Security Program. Prior to her appointment at the Belfer Center, Aditi worked at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency.
She holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Nuclear Science and Engineering from MIT. Her work, authored for academic as well as policymaking audiences, has been published in Nuclear Engineering and Design, Nature, Nuclear Technology, Issues in Science and Technology, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and Inkstick.
Neil Wilmshurst, Senior Vice President of Energy System Resources, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
Neil Wilmshurst is EPRI's Senior Vice President of Energy System Resources. He has overall management and technical responsibility for the research and development activities conducted by EPRI with its global membership related to all generation sources and storage.
In August 2021, he became Chair of the World Energy Council (WEC) US Member Committee. The US Member Committee is hosted by EPRI, and represents innovators, leaders, and disruptors in the US energy community, bringing their voices to the global community of WEC. From 2010-2020, when he was EPRI’s Chief Nuclear Officer, the nuclear sector global membership expanded to encompass more than 80% of the world’s commercial nuclear fleet. He joined EPRI in 2003 as a Senior Project Manager in the Plant Support Engineering programme. In 2008, he became Director of the Plant Technology department, and was appointed as Vice President, Nuclear and Chief Nuclear Officer in 2010. In November 2020 he was appointed to his current role.
Before joining EPRI, he worked in a variety of nuclear utility engineering and maintenance roles with AmerGen at Three Mile Island Unit 1 and British Energy at the Sizewell B plant. Prior to joining the civil nuclear program, he served for 13 years in the Royal Navy as a Nuclear Submarine Engineer Officer.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical, mechanical, and control engineering from the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, UK; a post graduate diploma in nuclear reactor technology from the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, UK; and a Master’s degree in defense administration from Cranfield Institute of Technology, Shrivenham, UK. While serving in the Royal Navy he was certified as a Naval Nuclear Plant Operator.