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As perhaps the world’s most heavily regulated, scrutinized, politicized, and publicly misunderstood global industry sector, the nuclear industry and its suppliers require sophisticated counsel with a keen sense of the legal, political, and commercial challenges facing the industry, as well as its important place in the worldwide energy future.

The K&L Gates nuclear industry group is an international, multidisciplinary team focused on virtually every facet of the nuclear industry and on the challenges presented by the use and disposal of radioactive materials and radiation-generating devices, as well as the opportunities presented by heightened concern over the emission of greenhouse gases.

Our clients include operators of commercial nuclear energy facilities, nuclear fuel fabricators, ore processors, industrial and medical users, waste management and transportation contractors, developers, and suppliers to the commercial nuclear power industry. In the United States, our attorneys have represented Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensees and Department of Energy (DOE) contractors, as well as consultants, contractors, and subcontractors in nearly every capacity. In the United Kingdom, we have advised government agencies and nuclear facility operators on a wide range of regulatory issues and have been involved in several important transactions in the U.K. nuclear industry.

Our industry team combines lawyers with a range of nuclear industry experience, including technical backgrounds, government agency roles, and in-house counsel of regulated companies. Still others bring truly unique experiences to bear in counseling our nuclear clients. For example, K&L Gates partner Dick Thornburgh, in his former capacity as governor of Pennsylvania, led the Commonwealth’s emergency response during the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

Areas of Practice

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Managing Partner, Austin Office
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Of Counsel
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Of Counsel
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Government Affairs Analyst
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Senior Of Counsel
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Export Controls
We prepared numerous applications to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for licenses and other authorizations, and applications to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) for approvals of DSP-5s (and other DSP licenses), Technical Assistance Agreements, Manufacturing License Agreements, and Warehouse and Distribution Agreements, in connection with marketing, supply, and procurement arrangements, and the operation of U.S. and offshore subsidiaries and joint ventures.
We are assisting a client in connection with the re-export of defective nuclear fuel assemblies from Asia to Europe.
Our team is representing several clients with respect to export control issues related to supplying materials for construction of nuclear power plants and providing parts/components for nuclear controlled items abroad.
We represented numerous U.S. exporters in responding to administrative subpoenas, search warrants and grand jury subpoenas, and requests for interviews in investigations by BIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents under U.S. export control laws.
We advised a U.S. nuclear industry participant in connection with a joint venture in China, in which our client had a minority interest but provided engineers to work with the JV in China, which undertook nuclear construction projects globally. This engagement also included development of compliance procedures relating to applicable U.S. requirements. 
Government and Regulatory
Low-Level RAM Contamination:    While representing a client in California in unrelated matters, the client discovered radioactive material contamination in boxes of its documents stored in a warehouse.  We guided the client through various state regulatory issues (California OSHA, Cal Prop. 50), and ultimately NRC transportation regulations when the client shipped the boxes to a low-level waste facility. 
DOE Facilities:   Our attorneys have advised several DOE contractors on compliance with DOE Orders and regulations related to nuclear operations, waste management and cleanup, and nuclear safety and security.  We have participated in contractor self-assessments and audits in compliance with DOE nuclear safety rules (Price-Anderson Act compliance), radioactive and mixed waste management, environmental restoration, radiation protection, and risk management.  Facilities assessed include gaseous diffusion plants (Portsmouth, Ohio, and Paducah, Ky.), national laboratories (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tenn., Sandia National Laboratories, N.M., and the Idaho National Laboratory), environmental restoration/waste management sites (Hanford, Wash., and the K-25 site in Tennessee), and defense program sites (Y-12 National Security Complex, Tenn.). 
Off-Site Contamination:   On behalf of the former owner of two nuclear fuel processing facilities, we defended claims asserted by a local wastewater treatment plant alleging that radiological materials previously discharged to sewers (in accordance with NRC limits) were concentrated in the treatment plant’s sludge.  The sludge was thereafter incinerated and placed in an ash lagoon.  K&L Gates counseled the client through negotiations with the wastewater treatment plant operator, proceedings before the NRC resulting in a no further action determination, and subsequent negotiations with the state environmental agency, ultimately leading to final closure of the ash lagoon. 
Pharmaceutical Research:   Our nuclear industry group lawyers have counseled a laboratory owner on the state and federal regulatory requirements for decontaminating and decommissioning its laboratory facility and managing the resulting radioactive waste.
Superfund:   We served as chair and common counsel for a PRP group for a metal smelting facility, a portion of which was contaminated with radioactive materials.  K&L Gates led negotiations with the EPA and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regarding the investigations, characterizations, remedial selection, design, and implementation.