John E. Matthews assists clients seeking regulatory approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for first-of-its-kind commercial transactions involving nuclear power plants, including transactions to facilitate accelerated decommissioning of reactors. He also advises on commercial issues relating to nuclear power plants, other nuclear assets, nuclear export controls, certain government contract matters, and NRC review of license transfers. Clients turn to John for guidance regarding decommissioning funding issues and foreign ownership, control or domination (FOCD) issues.
In addition, John helps clients navigate the unique insurance and liability issues associated with the ownership and operation of nuclear assets under US and international nuclear liability regimes. He also provides counsel in commercial transactions involving the acquisition and/or financing of nuclear assets. Engagements include the development of the South Texas Project, Units 3&4, the sale of Zion station to ZionSolutions for decommissioning, the transfer of control of the LaCrosse plant to LaCrosse Solutions for decommissioning, NorthStar’s acquisition of Vermont Yankee for decommissioning, the sale of Oyster Creek to Holtec for decommissioning, and the transfer of control of Crystal River for decommissioning.
John directs litigation teams in contested licensing proceedings before the NRC and in complex commercial litigation involving nuclear assets.He has represented clients in NRC hearings relating to the licensing of the South Texas Project, Units 3&4, the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, numerous contested license transfer proceedings, license amendment proceedings, and contested import/export license proceedings.
He periodically speaks at industry conferences regarding nuclear asset transfer issues, decommissioning issues, decommissioning trust funds and FOCD issues.
Represented a utility in asset sale of commercial nuclear reactor, including $800M+ trust fund, for purposes of accelerated decommissioning
Represented a contractor in acquisition of special purpose entity owning commercial nuclear, including $500M+ trust fund, for purposes of accelerated decommissioning
Represented a U.S. utility entering into two marketing agreements for inventory of uranium, uranium hexafluoride, and enriched uranium product (one with the marketing arm of a major supplier, and one with an international uranium trading company)
Represented an international uranium supplier in dispute over terms of uranium supply contract with Asian utility seeking to invoke force majeure provisions
Represented a U.S. utility regarding disposition of various fuel supply contracts for a prematurely shutdown reactor site
Represented a U.S. utility negotiating agreement among owners of commercial nuclear reactors regarding governance of $4B decommissioning project
Represented a contractor entering into $75M+ fixed price arrangement to assume NRC licensed responsibility for performance of commercial nuclear reactor decommissioning
Represented a U.S. utility in sale of operating commercial nuclear reactor, including $745M trust fund
Represented multiple U.S. utilities in obtaining NRC approval for corporate restructurings, involving transfer of control of reactor licenses
Represented a U.S. utility on nuclear regulatory matters relating to merger/acquisition of utility
Represented an international utility evaluating a $20B international financing package for development of new commercial nuclear reactors
Represented utility in sale of two unit commercial nuclear reactor site, including $900M trust fund, for purposes of accelerated decommissioning
Georgetown University, 1986, B.S.F.S., Cum Laude
University of Virginia School of Law, 1990, J.D.
District of Columbia
Awards and Affiliations
Recommended, Industry focus: Energy regulation: conventional power, The Legal 500 US (2019)
Member, Law Firm of the Year, Energy/Projects: Power (including Renewables), Chambers USA (2018)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Energy, Law360 (2016, 2019)
Member, Energy Law Firm of the Year, US News & World Report/Best Lawyers (2015)
Recognized, Energy Law, Washington, DC, The Best Lawyers in America (2019, 2020)
Ranked, Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation), USA, Chambers Global (2012–2020)
Ranked, Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation), Nationwide, Chambers USA (2010–2019)
Recognized, International Who’s Who Legal for Energy Lawyers (2013–2017)