With the continued need to generate secure, affordable low carbon electricity, focus is turning to SMRs and the possibility of the co-generation of heat and power to complement existing renewable assets and decarbonise heat supply.

With the potential to offer lower capital costs, shorter construction times, improved safety and more flexible applications when compared to larger scale reactors, the development of SMRs is a key growth area in both the UK and international nuclear new build sectors.

We draw on the market leading knowledge and experience of our nuclear experts across the firm to offer a true cradle to grave service for SMR projects from financing, site acquisition, planning and licensing through to construction, operation and other regulatory matters.

Our nuclear lawyers are actively involved in shaping government policy on SMRs. Using our nuclear expertise, we continue to be involved in developing the sector's understanding of the legal hurdles to deployment of an SMR in the UK. Our lawyers are also members of key industry bodies in the UK and internationally, such as the Nuclear Industry Association, Nuclear Institute, the International Nuclear Law Association and the World Nuclear Association.

Areas of focus

Our nuclear lawyers have a proven track record advising on the following aspects of nuclear new build and operational nuclear projects which are of relevance to SMRs:

  • Corporate structures.
  • Site acquisition.
  • The planning process and other consenting including radiological and non-radiological consenting.
  • Financing of energy projects including Government support mechanisms such as Contracts for Difference and the Treasury's UK guarantees scheme.
  • Funded decommissioning programmes.
  • State aid and procurement.
  • Nuclear site licensing and nuclear third party liability insurance.
  • Construction contracts.
  • Operational issues.
  • Waste management and disposal.
  • The transport of nuclear materials and radioactive waste.
  • International nuclear law. 

Advising the UK Government on its £800 million land disposal programme for nuclear new build in the UK.

Advising the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on the transfer of Springfields Fuels Limited to Westinghouse and a 150 year lease to operate the site.

Advising new build developers in the UK, the supply chain, and regulators on aspects of the UK new nuclear programme.

Advising on the NEC3 suite of contracts in relation to nuclear new build and other major infrastructure projects.

Advising nuclear site licence companies on regulatory and operational issues, for example grid connectivity, boundary issues, and compliance, as well as commercial, procurement, property, planning, construction and liability issues.

Advising on many of the key contentious nuclear sector disputes that have arisen in the last few years and providing specialist litigation capability within our nuclear team.

Advising the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on the £2.5 billion Dounreay decommissioning contract, for which we were named the Commercial Team of the Year at the Legal Week British Legal Awards 2012.

Advising the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on the transfer of the world's first uranium-enrichment facility in Capenhurst to URENCO.

Advising owners, carriers, insurers and shippers on nuclear materials transport – global nuclear liability, contractual negotiations, safeguards and regulator liaison, including advice on contractual terms relating to international nuclear waste/fuel shipments globally.

Advising over a number of years on global transportation contracts, commercial fuel agreements, liability, and insurance. Also advising on commercial agreements between domestic and international customers relating to the storage, handling, reprocessing and transport of nuclear waste and the supply of mixed oxide fuel to the nuclear industry.

Advising NEPIOs in many jurisdictions on establishing their domestic nuclear laws to the best international standards including their laws relating to security, safeguards, safety and nuclear liability. We have experience of applying IAEA laws and standards and can advise foreign governments seeking to introduce new nuclear legal regimes.

Meet the team
Ian Truman

Ian Truman Partner

  • Nuclear
  • Projects
  • Environment
Ian Salter

Ian Salter Partner

  • Head of Nuclear
  • Head of Projects
  • Environment
Michael Barlow

Michael Barlow Partner

  • Head of Environment
  • Head of Water
  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Philip Beer

Philip Beer Partner

  • Real Estate
  • Transport
  • Energy and Utilities
Julian Boswall

Julian Boswall Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Planning and Compulsory Purchase
Paul Browne

Paul Browne Partner

  • Head of Real Estate
  • Head of International Trade
  • Nuclear
Nick Graves

Nick Graves Partner

  • Head of Corporate
  • Corporate Advice
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

  • Head of Public Sector
  • Head of Procurement and State Aid
  • Projects
Steven James

Steven James Partner

  • Construction and Engineering 
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Construction Disputes
Patrick Robinson

Patrick Robinson Consultant

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Planning and Compulsory Purchase

What others say...

It is one of only a handful of genuinely expert nuclear law specialist teams in the UK (and perhaps globally) plus they know the sector – policy, individuals and organisations – inside out which adds a different dimension to their advice. The Bristol base makes the team very cost effective – when a big nuclear project comes out this team is generally the first to be engaged.

Legal 500 2020

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