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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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Senior Of Counsel
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K&L Gates represented a nuclear engineering contractor in its Chapter 11 reorganization. Our attorneys successfully assisted our client in the court-approved sale of its spent nuclear fuel transportation and storage business and in negotiations with its nuclear power generation customers regarding disposition of their design and construction contracts.
We represent the owner and operator of two nuclear facilities located in western Pennsylvania in a case involving claims of over 400 plaintiffs alleging personal injury and property damage resulting from radioactive releases from these facilities.   After a trial where the client was represented by insurer-appointed counsel and which resulted in a verdict for the first eight plaintiffs in excess of $36 million, K&L Gates was asked to assume the defense of these claims.  Our lawyers are also pursuing insurance coverage for all potential liabilities from the client’s nuclear insurers as well as indemnification from other parties.
We have represented parties in the sale of commercial facilities and hospitals requiring transfer of multiple Agreement State and NRC licenses.
Our London attorneys recently represented the sellers in the disposal of a licensed nuclear submarine base, as well as undertaking the due diligence for the acquisition by a French company of a U.K. nuclear services promoter.
One of our lawyers was involved in the $1 billion sale of two state-owned nuclear power plants to a private party as well as power purchase agreements for the future output of the plants.  Issues included due diligence and assignment of hundreds of supply and service contracts, the renegotiation and transfer of dozens of joint operating and maintenance agreements, and the transfer of 1,600 public employees to the private sector with all compensation and pensions intact.
We have represented the seller of a nuclear imaging equipment manufacturer in the transfer of multiple state and NRC permits and approvals for radioactive materials and equipment used in the business. 
Our attorneys have also represented several commercial nuclear licensees in the defense of claims of alleged radiation-related cancer by individual employees. 
We represented a supplier to the commercial nuclear power industry in securing nuclear liability insurance coverage in connection with the Maxey Flats disposal site.   See Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., et al. v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, et al., 179 S.W.3d 830 (Ky. 2005) aff’g Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Nuclear Engineering Co., 2002 WL 363373 (Ky. App. Mar. 8, 2002).  This decision represents the first appellate guidance regarding the coverage afforded under nuclear energy liability policies for claims alleging radiation‑related property damage.
Public Policy
Nuclear Waste Legislation:   We helped lobby for the inclusion of provisions to the 1987 amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and supported legislative language on nuclear waste issues contained in annual appropriations acts.  We have worked on nuclear waste legislation affecting FUSRAP, 11e.2 byproduct material, and the construction of the waste treatment plant.
Tax and Tariff Legislation:    We have successfully lobbied Congress for amendments to maintain favorable tax benefits and tariff treatment for equipment and large components used in nuclear power plants.  These efforts have been worth potentially millions of dollars to our clients.