By John Kelly, ANS President
I am honored and energized to serve as the 64th president of the American Nuclear Society. I was born in March 1954 and ANS was founded in December 1954. While I am a few months older, we are both in our 64th year, and I believe our destinies have been closely intertwined from the beginning. Even though I knew in high school that I would be an engineer, it was not until I entered the University of Michigan in 1972 that I learned about the tremendous promise of nuclear science and technology to improve the lives of everyone on Earth. I have never had second thoughts about my choice of nuclear engineering, even though the Three Mile Island accident occurred 18 months before I received my Ph.D. from MIT. I want to thank all my colleagues, both here in the United States and around the world, who have inspired me, supported me, and validated my decision to enter the nuclear field. I especially want to thank my colleagues in the Nuclear Installations Safety Division for giving me the opportunity to serve the Society both within the division and now as president.
I also want to congratulate Marilyn Kray on her election as vice president/president-elect. Marilyn brings unique expertise to the position, and she is a welcome addition to our executive team. I am looking forward to working with Marilyn, Immediate Past President Bob Coward, Executive Director Bob Fine, the ANS staff, and our volunteer leaders as we continue to make progress on several strategic fronts.
At this point in time, we have many opportunities and several challenges as nuclear professionals, ranging from technical issues to economics, policy, and public acceptance. It is important that we have continuity in ANS leadership, especially on strategic issues, if we are to make significant contributions to the public dialogue on “all things nuclear.” The Grand Challenges concept introduced in 2016 by then President Andy Klein was an excellent idea. During my presidency, I want the professional divisions to continue their efforts to achieve the goals they set. Bob Coward recognized that ANS needs to provide more value not only to our members, but also to potential new members, especially nuclear professionals in the utility industry and those in the early stages of their careers. In response to feedback from members, Bob worked with the Board of Directors to revise the ANS Strategic Plan, simplifying it and making it more relevant. I have asked Bob to continue to oversee these strategic priorities and develop actions for implementation, and he has agreed to do so.
I recognize that communication across the Society is less than optimal. I intend to use these columns as a way of informing the Society at large about the important work being done by our professional divisions and committees. Improving communications within the Society will add another dimension of value for our members and position ANS to become the preeminent advocate for nuclear in public and policy matters. I have asked Marilyn to pay special attention to our communication and outreach efforts and lend her expertise and insights in this important area. The Navigating Nuclear K–12 education program, an initiative of the ANS Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information, is a bold communications initiative, inspiring all of us who see the long-term strategic value of having the public become much more knowledgeable about nuclear.
To be successful in the long term, we must view ourselves as “1ANS,” which means finding ways to work together in a supportive and synergistic manner, as described in our Strategic Plan. To reinforce this, I will reach out to the local sections and student sections and establish two-way communication with our constituent groups on a continuing basis through the year. With all the communication tools we have today, it only makes sense to bring together our entire constituency.
Over the last decade and more, ANS has recognized the importance of investing in our future through the Young Members Group. We all understand the value of giving young members opportunities to participate in the governance of the Society. Now is the time to focus not only on the professional development of these young members, but also on developing future nuclear leaders. Within ANS, there are many leadership opportunities that would provide our young members with experience in a supportive environment. I will ask the professional divisions and committees to continue engaging with young members, and I plan to test-drive a few new ideas on leadership development.
There has been recent and growing interest in nuclear power technologies that can augment light-water reactor gigawatt-class systems, including small modular reactors (SMR), advanced reactors (also known as Generation IV reactors), and an emerging micro-reactor class. Nearly a decade ago, I cochaired an ANS Special Committee on SMRs with Phillip Moore, and this committee laid the foundation for the licensing and deployment of SMRs. Other organizations have already established working groups associated with advanced reactors, and it is time for ANS to be part of the national and global discussion. In my view, ANS is the only organization that can create venues for technology developers to present their designs in a credible, peer-reviewed manner. As such, I will be forming a Special Committee on Advanced Reactors. We can also add value by establishing codes and standards and advocating for this exciting new technology.
I eagerly embrace the challenge of leading our Society and supporting all of its diverse sectors. I know that ANS will outlive me, but I will give my all, and with your support and the support of the generations to come we will make ANS better and better every year.—John Kelly
John Kelly became ANS’s 64th president on June 21 during the ANS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. In this article, originally published in the July/August 2018 issue of ANS News, Kelly shares what he has in mind for ANS during his presidency. For more on his career and goals as president, read the profile article published in July 2018 Nuclear News. Connect with John on Twitter.