Two high-profile nuclear construction projects have reached important milestones, and in both cases, Pillsbury’s top-rated nuclear energy team has played an important advisory role.

The first nuclear reactor unit at the Barakah site in the United Arab Emirates has been formally completed by Pillsbury client Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), whose $20 billion contract with the Korea Electric Power Corporation to design, build and operate four 1,400 MW nuclear reactors for the project represents the largest nuclear power contract ever announced. The reactor’s completion has been hailed internationally as a historic moment and a marker of strengthening international ties for the UAE. When completed, the Barakah facility will mark the UAE as the first Arab nation to deliver a commercial nuclear plant and the first newcomer nation to the nuclear power industry in more than 30 years.

Key members of the Pillsbury team, which has represented ENEC from its inception through nearly every aspect of the Barakah project, include Charles Peterson, William Fork, James Glasgow, Elina Teplinsky and Michael Lepre. Pillsbury acted as the organization’s general counsel during the project development period, leading the negotiations of the historic Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract and advising on all aspects of the project’s implementation. 

“Our team has worked with ENEC and the UAE government for the better part of a decade to draft and negotiate contracts and to develop a regulatory program and a nuclear liability regime that meets international standards,” Glasgow said. “We are proud to have developed strong relationships with ENEC and UAE officials and to have played a role in establishing an environment in which nuclear energy development can flourish in the region.”

Reflecting the depth and international reach of the firm’s Nuclear Energy practice, Pillsbury also is advising project developer Akkuyu Nükleer on the 4,800-megawatt Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project in Turkey’s Mersin province, where the first concrete was poured on April 3. The complex is being developed pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement between the Russian and Turkish governments and based on a Build-Own-Operate model, a first for a nuclear project. The $20 billion project will be Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and is expected to help reduce the country’s dependence on energy imports.

Since 2013, a Pillsbury team led by partner Elina Teplinsky has provided advice to the Akkuyu legal team on key issues in the development of the Akkuyu project, including project agreements, the project’s financing, strategic advice and risk assessment, regulatory matters, international nuclear law and nuclear liability. In addition to Teplinsky, key members of the Pillsbury team include Vincent Zabielski, David Lewis, Samuel Pearse, Michael Jaffe and Aaron Hutman.

“The pouring of the first concrete at Akkuyu is not only a significant milestone for the project, but also an important historic marker in the development of nuclear energy in Turkey,” Teplinsky said. “We are honored to have the opportunity to advise on this landmark project and look forward to its continued progress.”

Pillsbury possesses one of the world’s top nuclear energy teams—a trailblazing practice with a 50-year track record full of firsts. The firm provides nuclear power plant operators, investors, financial institutions, governments, reactor suppliers and other industry participants with advice on policy, regulation, transactions, litigation, intellectual property, real estate and land use. Renowned as among “the best-respected and best-established names in the nuclear law industry,” Pillsbury’s lawyers have worked on nuclear projects and matters in every market where nuclear power facilities are in operation or under development. In addition, Pillsbury’s distinguished energy practice has advised on large-scale energy projects and their financing in more than 75 countries on six continents.