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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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Of Counsel
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Government Affairs Analyst
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Senior Of Counsel
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Nuclear Fuel Transportation:   K&L Gates successfully represented an electric utility in a challenge brought by the state of New Jersey to proposed barge transportation of partially spent nuclear fuel to a Pennsylvania utility.  The claims were brought under the Atomic Energy Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act.  New Jersey v. Long Island Power Authority, 30 F. 3d 403 (3d Cir. 1993).
Spent Nuclear Storage: Representing businessmen challenging decision by the president to abandon development of Yucca Mountain as a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste, in violation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Administrative Procedures Act. Oral argument is set for March 22, 2010. Ferguson et al. v. Barack Obama, et al. (No. 10-1052) (D.C. Cir.).
CERCLA Liability for Radioactive Waste Disposal:   Our lawyers represented a client that sent radioactive waste to the Maxey Flats low-level radioactive waste disposal site in Kentucky in a successful “arranger” claim against the DOE.
We currently serve as national counsel to a consortium of approximately 85 percent of the U.S. commercial nuclear industry on claims avoidance and defense of radiation injury claims. 
Sherman Act and Lanham Act:    K&L Gates is currently defending a major vendor of products and services to the nuclear power industry against claims of attempted monopolization under the Sherman Act, and false advertising and product disparagement under the Lanham Act.
We worked on the formation of British Energy and on the transfer of certain nuclear power generating stations from the British government to the company.   We also represented the company’s subsequent IPO on the London Stock Exchange.  These projects involved a thorough review of all the company’s operations with specific reference to the commercial agreements in place for the sale of the electricity generated by the plants, the antitrust issues raised by certain of these arrangements, the environmental risks faced by the company going forward, and a thorough review of the regulatory framework facing the company.
We represented a former government contractor in successfully defeating a putative international class action brought on behalf of all U.S. and NATO military personnel claiming that they developed cancer due to ionizing radiation exposure from military radar equipment during the Cold War. 
Superfund:   K&L Gates represented a former operator of a tungsten ore processing facility contaminated with uranium, thorium, and other metals associated with tungsten ore processing.  We represented the client in a contribution action, while at the same time advising the client on remedial design and remedial action issues under CERCLA 106 orders.
K&L Gates has served as environmental counsel to a major electric utility in the exchange and auction sale of multiple electrical generating facilities, including nuclear generating facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. 
We represented a manufacturer of steam generators and other commercial nuclear power components in securing an independent insurer-funded defense and access to the broadest limits available under nuclear liability Facility Form Policies, for underlying claims alleging injuries resulting from exposure to radioactive emissions from nuclear fuel processing plants in Apollo and Parks Township, Penn.   See The Babcock & Wilcox Company, et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., No. 1916 WDA 2001, 2002 WL 31749119 (Pa. Super. Ct. Nov. 25, 2005), appeal denied, 829 A.2d 350 (Pa. 2003).  This decision represents the first appellate guidance regarding the coverage afforded under nuclear liability policies for claims alleging radiation‑related bodily injury.