ANS Meeting Preview: Nuclear nonproliferation panel on Middle East

Nuclear Nonproliferation, International Safeguards, and Nuclear Security Challenges in the Middle East

Monday, November 12
1–4 pm
Grand West Room
Town and Country Resort and Conference Center
San Diego, CA

The American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Technical Group will host a Distinguished Panel at the 2012 ANS Winter Meeting and Nuclear Technology Expo in San Diego. An ANS social media representative will be in attendance to relay audience and panel questions and responses via the ANS organizational twitter handle @ans_org.

The United Arab Emirates is set to become the first Arab country to adopt nuclear power to meet its growing domestic energy needs. Many other countries in the Middle East have publicly expressed interest in pursuing nuclear technology for generating electricity and for water desalination purposes. These countries include the State of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar, the State of Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen.

This potential nuclear renaissance in the Middle East is happening at the same time as popular uprisings known as the “Arab Spring” that are changing the political topology of the region.

The Distinguished Panel is aimed at exploring the political, technical, and market challenges to the development of nuclear power in a post- Arab Spring Middle East, in the context of non-proliferation, safeguards, and security. This topic is of utmost importance and tremendous interest to the nuclear science and technology community, as it exemplifies the importance of flexibility and resilience in the approach to such challenges.

The panel includes high-level representatives from industry, academia, national laboratories, and the region including:

Abdelmajid Mahjoub
Director General
Arab Atomic Energy Agency

Ayman Hawari
Commissioner for Nuclear Reactors
Jordan Atomic Energy Commission
Professor of Nuclear Engineering
North Carolina State University

Brian Boyer
Project Leader, International Safeguards
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Marilyn C. Kray
Vice President, New Plant Development
Exelon Nuclear Partners
NuStart Energy Development LLC

The panel was organized and is being chaired by Rian Bahran, a PhD candidate in nuclear engineering and science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a member of the ANS Nuclear Non-Proliferation Technical Group (NNTG). Rian is the former president of the ANS student section at RPI and was the general chair of the ANS Student Conference at Rensselaer in 2006. He was also the vice-chair of the ANS Student Sections committee from 2007–2010 and has recently been nominated for a position on the executive committee of NNTG.

Rian—who is originally from Yemen—says that he would like attendees “to learn about the region’s current geopolitical and socioeconomic issues, in respect to how they impact nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards, and security.” Rian also notes: “Social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook were both instrumental and congruently grew with the massively spontaneous organization of populous revolts. Therefore, it is only appropriate to utilize Twitter to solicit some of the questions during the panel, as an homage to these successful movements that are fighting against stronghold autocratic rule, and toward a more representative and democratic government.”