Nuclear energy

Investing in, and building, nuclear power stations requires advisers who have a proven track record in the full range of disciplines that will be required. CMS has an experienced team covering all of these areas. Nuclear power, by its very nature, requires specialist knowledge to understand the full process and risks involved, right from the generation, to the handling of the waste, and to the final decommissioning of the power station. At CMS, we have created a nuclear focus group that includes experienced lawyers in this sector who regularly work together.

CMS has advised on acquisitions and divestments of nuclear power assets, nuclear new build programmes from their initial inception and on decommissioning structures and waste disposal issues. We combine this with our market leading expertise in the electricity sector to provide clients in the nuclear sector with a holistic and deep service that takes account of both the nuclear specific considerations and those arising from nuclear’s place in the wider industry framework.

We have advised on the structure of effective tendering processes, the RFP processes, the contractual documentation and the negotiation process with bidders towards short listing, preferred bidder and eventual award. CMS has also been involved in conducting appropriate due diligence on the background legal and regulatory frameworks, including redrafting legislation and capacity building required to facilitate investor comfort in the overall process. Having advised both public and private sector, we understand the unique challenges of procuring, building and operating nuclear projects and can help navigate stakeholders toward a successful outcome.

Selected relevant experience includes advising:

Nuclear new build

  • RWE on the creation of its joint venture with E.ON to invest in UK new nuclear, and on its nuclear new build programme.
  • EDF Energy, as a panel law firm, on a variety of matters in the UK, including on issues relating to nuclear new build.
  • Members of our team advised EDF in relation to development and financing issues over a five year period, letting of the first contracts, site characterisation work and related arrangements.
  • Advising in detail on the CFD and SOSIA documents in relation to the construction of Hinkley Point C.

M&A

  • Advising on the divestment of Horizon Nuclear Power.
  • VT Group plc on its acquisition of British Nuclear Group Project Services Limited, including reviewing decommissioning contracts and assessing nuclear liability risk arising from operations in the UK, Italy, France, Russia, Bulgaria, Armenia, Lithuania and Japan.
  • Advising on the acquisition of Slovenske Elektrarne.

Day to day advice

  • The joint venture between RWE and E.ON (Horizon) on its successful participation in the auction process to acquire nuclear sites from the NDA and EDF.
  • Atomic Weapons Establishment for over 14 years from the initial ‘contractorisation’ of AWE on regulatory and commercial matters.
  • National Grid in relation to the development of the Nuclear Site Licence Provisions Agreements, an agreement between nuclear site licensees and the National Grid, which was then recently recreated by us as the Co-Operation Agreement for the NDA.

Construction packages

  • Advising ENEL in relation to Belene, including on the EPC contractual arrangements and the wider sector framework.
  • Advising a contractor on its bid for two supply contracts for new units 1 and 2 of the Taishen Nuclear Power Station.
  • Advised CGN on participation in the proposed extension of Cernovoda 3 and 4.
  • An EPC contractor on the nuclear liability and insurance and how this would apply to a second tier contractor working on new build sites in the UK.

Decommissioning and waste arrangements

  • UKAEA on decommissioning contracts, business structures, state aid, procurement and national and international nuclear laws applicable in the UK and other European jurisdictions.
  • The UK Department of Trade and Industry in relation to the establishment of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and drafting the initial and competitively let management and operation contract for the decommissioning and clean-up of Britain’s civil nuclear legacy.
  • Westinghouse in relation to manufacturing capacbilities for Ukrainian nuclear including decommissioning and clean-up of the Chernobyl accident site.
  • A private waste management contractor on regulatory and nuclear liability arising out of plans to open a landfill to disposal of LLW.
  • A major European based nuclear operator on contractual issues relating to the reprocessing of nuclear fuel at THORP, Sellafield.
  • Transport Container Standardisation Committee (made up of representatives from the UK Nuclear Industry) for several years on UK and EU legislation relating to the transport of radioactive material.

Key contacts

Contact