As a leading advisor in the highly regulated nuclear energy industry, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has decades of experience in helping clients navigate the regulatory, commercial, construction and international trade considerations within the nuclear sphere. We advise clients in representations ranging from construction and operation of nuclear facilities to regulation of the distribution, sale, storage and consumption of nuclear energy and disposal of nuclear waste, as well as in disputes relating to these matters.
In addition to representing nuclear facility contractors, developers and operators (including publicly owned utility companies around the world), we also represent regulatory and governmental agencies. This gives us a broad perspective on the field. We have extensive experience before the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of Investigations as well as before foreign and international nuclear regulatory bodies.
Nuclear Energy – Finance, Development, and Construction
Akin Gump has considerable experience advising nuclear industry companies and public regulators in joint ventures, services agreements, construction and O&M agreements, consultancy agreements and international cooperation agreements. We also regularly advise on general vendor agreements and management of procurement processes.
Experience includes advising on:
- nuclear cooperation agreements for the exchange of technical information and cooperation in nuclear safety and radiation protection matters
- nuclear safety, security and safeguards matters
- agreements for technical support organizations to assist in the review of a construction license application for a nuclear power plant (including provision of engineering and technical services related to management and quality assurance, design systems and safety analysis)
- review of construction contracts related to nuclear facilities
- structuring of equity ownership and debt financing arrangements relative to the development of nuclear facilities
- training agreements for provision of nuclear safety and radiation protection courses
- nuclear regulatory consulting and strategic advisory agreements.
Nuclear Energy – Regulatory
Akin Gump’s strong relationships in the nuclear industry and past representative experience situate the firm ideally to anticipate and respond to changes in the global regulatory and transactional environment. The fact that we also represent certain nuclear industry regulators overseas enables us to offer a broad and balanced perspective on relevant issues and to speak from a position of authority.
Our experience includes advising on the following nuclear energy regulations:
- application for a license to construct a nuclear facility
- basic safety standards for nuclear facilities and activities involving ionizing radiation
- certification of nuclear facility operations personnel
- design of nuclear power plants
- economic sanctions
- emergency preparedness at a nuclear facility
- export and import controls
- International Atomic Energy Agency and U.S. Department of Energy requirements
- management systems for nuclear facilities
- physical protection, including access controls
- probabilistic risk assessment application at nuclear facilities
- radiation dose limits and optimization of radiation protection for nuclear facilities
- radiation protection
- radioactive waste
- safeguards and material control and accounting
- security of radioactive sources
- siting of nuclear facilities
- transportation of radioactive materials.
- drafting of laws and regulations pertaining to nuclear industry regulation, and representation of regulatory authorities in reviewing applications made under such laws and regulations.
Nuclear Energy – Dispute Resolution
Our commercial litigation practice, which includes over 250 litigators, has broad and deep experience handling litigation matters at the trial and appellate levels as well as arbitrations and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings. Our litigators are equally comfortable representing plaintiffs or defendants and are accustomed to handling matters of exceptional complexity, such as multijurisdictional disputes, parallel civil and administrative proceedings and international litigation.
Our lawyers’ experience in dispute resolution involving nuclear energy includes advising:
- a major infrastructure company in a dispute with both a state nuclear authority and its own joint venture partner regarding the construction of a €3 billion next-generation nuclear power plant
- a U.K. contractor in a dispute as to delay and cost overruns in nuclear reactor testing
- a major European power company in relation to a dispute concerning nuclear fuel reprocessing
- a U.K. contractor in an £80 million dispute concerning the design, engineering and supply of equipment for use in nuclear fuel reprocessing.