Beginning with our representation of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) 30 years ago to the current nuclear renaissance, King & Spalding has had an active role in representing key participants in the nuclear industry, with special expertise counseling clients in matters related to nuclear plant construction, development and operation, commercial and environmental disputes, governmental relations, export control, intellectual property transfers, public financing and mergers and acquisitions.
Nuclear Plant Construction, Development and Operation
King & Spalding has a leading project development and construction team consisting of lawyers with engineering backgrounds focusing primarily on representing owners and developers regarding their construction and operation agreements for projects valued up to $40 billion. For example, we recently represented an electric power company in its participation in the development and operation of a fleet of international nuclear power plants. We also recently represented a national electric power company regarding an engineering, procurement, and construction contract and a long-term services agreement for a 2,200 MW greenfield nuclear power plant. And we represented Louisiana Energy Services, L.P. in drafting and negotiating construction contracts for a 3 million SWU per year uranium enrichment facility (which was the first project to be developed pursuant to a combined construction and operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission). Additionally, we are representing the Department of Energy with respect to its loan guarantee program for a nuclear power plant being developed in the southeastern U.S. Finally, our firm actively participates in the World Nuclear Association (WNA), including leading the Procurement Subcommittee of WNA’s Nuclear Law and Liability Working Group.
Nuclear Plant Dispute Resolution
King & Spalding has a long history of representing operators and operator trade organizations in a variety of sensitive industry matters. In addition to our relationship with INPO, the firm represents nuclear owners and operators in a wide range of commercial, environmental and regulatory disputes. King & Spalding’s dispute resolution experience includes representing the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) in a four-week trial of breach of contract claims by Lincoln Electric System seeking damages for the purchase of replacement power, lost profits and repayment of excess operation costs allegedly incurred as a result of NPPD’s mismanagement of the Cooper Nuclear Power Plant. King & Spalding won a jury defense verdict for the operator in that case. In addition, we achieved the first-ever settlement resulting in the DOE taking title to and paying costs for spent nuclear fuel held by a nuclear plant owner.
Government Advocacy and Public Policy
King & Spalding’s Government Advocacy and Public Policy Practice, based in Washington, D.C., assists nuclear industry clients at both the federal and state level. Members of the team have bipartisan, long-standing relationships with Congressional policymakers and staff involved in drafting energy-related legislation. This group recently represented a DOE-sponsored national laboratory in connection with House and Senate investigations of nuclear security issues.
King & Spalding’s International Trade Group, based in Washington, D.C., assists nuclear industry clients with a variety of export control issues related to the export of nuclear technology and materials, including 123 Agreements and 10 C.F.R. part 810 compliance. Our experience includes transactions involving goods and services relevant to the power generation industry, such as control systems, electronics, radiation detection equipment and turbine generators. Our group is proficient in regulations administered by the NRC and DOE, including with respect to the exportation of nuclear reactors, fuel-cycle facilities and related equipment and the export of technology and services related to nuclear power and special nuclear materials under 10 C.F.R. part 810. Representative matters include advising a manufacturer with respect to export control issues related to materials and technology useful in nuclear centrifuges and advising a research institute concerning technology transfer issues related to international joint-sponsored research projects involving civilian nuclear power.
King & Spalding’s Intellectual Property Practice Group assists nuclear industry clients with a wide range of IP transactional and proprietary right dispute-oriented issues. The team’s focus includes issues involving technology transfer, protection of trade secrets and confidential information, patent infringement defense and IP dispute resolution. Several members of the IP Practice team have prior industrial experience as nuclear engineers or performed nuclear-energy-related research in their academic careers. The IP team recently represented a national electric utility with respect to intellectual property issues for the development of a 2,200 MW greenfield nuclear power plant. The team is also advising a leading international provider of technical reactor services.
King & Spalding’s Public Finance Practice Group is ranked 25th among the nation’s top 100 bond counsel and is the oldest bond counsel firm in Georgia. We have acted as bond counsel in over 40 states and numerous electric utility projects. In particular, we recently counseled a group of underwriters led by Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the public offering and sale of $2.67 billion of revenue bonds to finance a portion of the cost of two new nuclear power plants being constructed at the Vogtle Plant in Burke County, Georgia.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Our lawyers have worked on nuclear, electric power and alternative energy mergers and acquisitions, including buy-side due diligence of targets valued in excess of $5 billion. Recent experience includes our representation of GE Energy in its bid for the Westinghouse nuclear business owned by British Nuclear Fuels. We also advised a multinational electric power company on the implications of purchasing a portfolio of foreign nuclear reactors.