Practice/Industry Group Overview
Nexsen Pruet is no stranger to the nuclear energy industry. A number of lawyers within Nexsen Pruet have experience in or with the nuclear industry and with the Savannah River Site in particular. These experiences include both legal work and hands-on engineering and construction work.
The renaissance of the nuclear power industry is moving fast. Nuclear power licensing and construction permits have been sought and plans are underway to start a new generation of plant construction. Because the nuclear energy industry has been in the doldrums for 30 years, a lot of expertise has been lost. This expertise involves not only those who will work directly in the industry but those who service its needs, even those who provide legal services. Using an attorney who is not starting at the bottom of the learning curve can make a big difference in achieving a cost-effective result.
Collectively, Nexsen Pruet attorneys understand and are comfortable with nuclear technology and various services provided by and to the nuclear power industry.
Michael Mann, leader of the Intellectual Property practice group, has a masters’ degree in nuclear engineering and six years experience as a nuclear fuel design engineer (including designing mixed oxide fuel) and in regulatory compliance. Later, he served as vice president and general counsel for a company engaged in processing, transporting and disposing of low-level radioactive waste.
After establishing his own law firm for intellectual property law, he prepared and prosecuted patent applications for the Savannah River Site, eventually obtaining approximately 115 patents for the Department of Energy. He has provided legal services to other clients serving the nuclear industry over the years both with his firm and, for the past eleven years, with Nexsen Pruet, LLC.
In 2005-2008, he was one of three arbitrators selected to arbitrate a $37M matter involving a claim arising out of damaged nuclear fuel.
John Hardaway, a senior member also in the Intellectual Property practice group and current president of FICPI, has nuclear industry experience as a ceramics engineer, working at Ames Laboratory in Iowa and at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has been active in assisting both Oak Ridge and the Savannah River Site in obtaining patents related to nuclear inventions.
John Perkins, Special Counsel for the Intellectual Property practice group, worked for five years as an engineer at the Duke Energy Oconee Nuclear Site in charge of electrical and mechanical systems, including low voltage power and control systems, the shutdown safety facility and infrared thermography. During that time, he developed a molded case circuit breaker testing program that is now an industry standard and both the infrared thermography and motor operated valve testing and maintenance programs still in use at Duke Power today.
Townsend Belser, a senior member of the Intellectual Property practice group, served on Admiral Rickover’s staff while serving in the US Navy.
Tom Lavender, practice group leader of the Nexsen Pruet environmental law group, has provided environmental law services to a number of companies in the nuclear industry and is currently assisting Duke Power in connection with the Lee Nuclear power station along with James Potter, his colleague in environmental law. Potter has also provided legal services to the nuclear industry.