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Nuclear Power Plant Experience

Kaye Scholer represents a range of clients in litigation, arbitration, and administrative proceedings relating to the construction, management, and decommissioning of nuclear power plants. MORE
Our attorneys have broad experience in representations relating to nuclear facility costs and rate recovery and nuclear decommissioning. Our clients look to us for our knowledge of the technical aspects of nuclear power plants as well as for our experience with the legal and policy issues that are unique to these technologies. The firm's background with both economic and safety regulators and with suppliers and plant owners provides the depth of knowledge that is necessary to address the complex, sophisticated problems that will face the nuclear power industry over the next decade. Our key representations include:
  • Representation of state public utility commission in a matter before the FERC to evaluate the proposed $831 million decommissioning of the Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant, including the company's prudence in managing decommissioning.

  • Representation of the California Public Utilities Commission in its investigation of the costs of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station. That proceeding analyzed the site selection, design, and construction of Diablo Canyon and quantified the impact of identified instances of unreasonable management practices.

  • Representation of a state public utility commission in its investigation of the Seabrook nuclear plant.

  • Representation of a state regulatory agency in a FERC proceeding on the shutdown and decommissioning of the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant.

  • Representation of a major U.S. electrical equipment manufacturer in a simultaneous lawsuit and international arbitration over the award and performance of a contract to build a nuclear power plant in the Philippines. Proceedings addressed the validity of the original contractual relations in light of allegations of bribery and fraud as well as the design, construction, and licensing of the virtually completed nuclear plant.

Randall L. Speck, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office, directs Kaye Scholer's nuclear power plant practice.

Mr. Speck's experience includes the following significant proceedings

Major Nuclear Power Plant Owner — represented the largest U.S. owner of nuclear power generating stations in a series of proceedings to determine the appropriate collections from utility ratepayers to cover the costs of decommissioning. These proceedings included presentation of Mr. Speck's expert testimony to the Illinois Commerce Commission on the policy implications of various cost-recovery mechanisms.

State Regulatory Agencyrepresented a state regulatory agency in a proceeding before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to examine the prudence of the decision to shut down
the Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant prematurely and the reasonableness of the proposed $427 million decommissioning costs. One significant question was the cause and extent of radioactive contamination in the surrounding soil at the site. The accelerated proceeding included extensive discovery and culminated in a two-week evidentiary hearing. Mr. Speck also represented the agency in proceedings before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Connecticut Yankee's License Termination Plan.

State Regulatory Agency — represented the state agency in a proceeding before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to examine the shutdown decision at Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant and the reasonableness of the proposed $508 million decommissioning costs. This proceeding raises significant issues about the mechanisms that a nuclear plant owner can use to shift the risks of decommissioning to a decommissioning operations contractor. In addition, Mr. Speck represented the agency in Maine Yankee's license termination proceedings before the NRC and negotiated a comprehensive settlement of a broad range of safety and environmental issues related to decommissioning.

State Governor — represented the Governor's office in the negotiation and implementation of a three-state interstate compact for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. Working with two other states, as well as with environmentalists and low-level radioactive waste generators in all three states, Mr. Speck completed the first functioning interstate compact to address these critical disposal issues.

Major U.S. Electrical Equipment Manufacturer — represented a major U.S. electrical equipment manufacturer in a simultaneous lawsuit and international arbitration over the award and performance of a contract to build a nuclear power plant. These proceedings addressed the validity of the original contractual relations in light of allegations of bribery as well as the design, construction, and licensing of the virtually completed nuclear plant. The litigation included discovery of several hundred thousand documents and over 50 depositions.

State Public Utility Commissionserved as special counsel to a state public utility commission in its investigation of the costs of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station. That proceeding analyzed the site selection, design, and construction of Diablo Canyon and quantified the impact of identified instances of unreasonable management practices. Mr. Speck advised the Commission staff on litigation strategy, established priorities for the proceeding, worked with expert witnesses to prepare their testimony, and assisted in analyzing settlement proposals.

Major U.S. Electrical Equipment Manufacturer — represented a major U.S. electrical equipment manufacturer in a series of lawsuits in federal courts relating to the performance of nuclear power plant steam generators. All of those suits were successfully resolved.

State Regulatory Agencies — was counsel to state regulators in their investigations of the Seabrook and South Texas nuclear plants. In both instances, he worked with the commission's experts to review the management of the design and construction and to prepare testimony for regulatory proceedings.

For additional information, please contact Randall L. Speck, partner in charge of the Firm's Nuclear Power Plant Practice in Washington, D.C., at 202-682-3510 (e-mail rspeck@kayescholer.com) or 202-682-3580 (fax).

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