Elina Teplinsky, a partner in Pillsbury’s renowned Nuclear Energy practice and deputy leader of the firm’s global Energy Industry Group, participated in a recent webinar with other World Nuclear Association working group leaders to discuss important issues in the global nuclear industry. Key issues surfaced during the discussion included harmonization in reactor licensing, energy market design, evolving safety regulation and new applications for nuclear energy.

While Teplinsky noted the great progress that has been made towards harmonizing the nuclear licensing process globally, she also cited some remaining barriers, including "entrenched regulatory approaches that have been very carefully crafted and tested over time” and “issue of sovereignty and pride.” “The most important barrier,” she noted, “is established national legal and regulatory frameworks."

“In many countries the law requires public participation in rulemakings, often, even incremental changes to regulations engender some opposition,” she added. “Different codes and standards used by regulators is a further barrier, as accepting new ones to be used in licensing is definitely a challenge for most regulators.”

Teplinsky also pointed to the thus far limited use of nuclear technologies for the desalination of water and stressed the significant capacity to expand this application further. “For hydrogen production there is still a lot of R&D required as well as commercial demonstration,” she concluded. "The market is potentially immense ... this could be a true gamechanger."

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