Kathryn M. Sutton advises clients on regulatory and adjudicatory issues involving the operation of commercial nuclear reactors before the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and other federal agencies. She represents NRC licensees and reactor vendors, serving as regulatory counsel and handling their complex licensing and adjudicatory matters. She serves as the leader of Morgan Lewis’s Energy Practice as well as a leader of the firm’s broader energy industry team, covering all business and legal aspects of power and utilities, renewables, and oil and gas.
Over the years, Kathryn’s practice has covered a wide spectrum of cutting edge projects. She has long been at the forefront of new reactor and initial reactor licensing projects. Specifically, Kathryn has assisted clients license new nuclear power plants, serving as counsel in the issuance of design certifications, combined licenses (COLs), early site permits, and limited work authorizations, as well as initial Part 50 operating licenses. She continues to advise vendors and licensees on new reactor licenses and adjudicatory matters.
Kathryn has also advised NRC licensees on the content and implementation of NRC’s license renewal regulations, handling not only nuclear regulatory matters but also environmental issues encompassing attendant National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) obligations and requirements. In this capacity, Kathryn has been involved in at least half of the license renewal projects that have been prosecuted before the NRC to date, providing legal services at all stages these projects. In addition, Kathryn is now advising clients on subsequent license renewal efforts aimed at extending plant operating licenses from 60 to 80 years.
In addition, Kathryn continually advises clients on issues involving current term plant operations. She has assisted with plant restarts from regulatory shutdowns, performance improvement planning, license transfers, regulatory exemptions, and license amendment proceedings. She also represents clients before the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in adjudicatory proceedings, and on appeals to the Commission itself.
Kathryn is a member of the firm’s Advisory Board.
Served as co-counsel in the representation of Southern Nuclear (Vogtle Units 3 and 4) in obtaining the first licenses for construction of new nuclear units issued by the NRC in more than 30 years and the first COLs ever issued under the NRC’s new reactor licensing regulations.
Represented South Carolina Electric & Gas (Summer Units 2 and 3) in obtaining COLs to construct and operate two new nuclear units at the existing Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station site in Fairfield County, South Carolina.
Represented the Tennessee Valley Authority in connection with the licensing of Watts Bar 2 and previously with the reactivation of the Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 construction permits.
Represented Entergy Nuclear Operations in connection with numerous safety and environmental matters raised in the highly-contested license renewal proceeding for Indian Point.
Georgetown University Law Center, 1988, J.D., Cum Laude
Pennsylvania State University, 1985, B.A., Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa
District of Columbia
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Awards and Affiliations
Lawyer of the Year, Energy Law, Washington, DC, The Best Lawyers in America (2020)
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)
Band 1, Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation), Nationwide, Chambers USA (2012-2020)
Ranked, Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation), Nationwide, Chambers USA (2010–2012)
Band 1, Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation), USA, Chambers Global (2014–2020)
Ranked, Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation), USA, Chambers Global (2007–2013)
Ranked, Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation), District of Columbia, Chambers USA (2006-2010)
Recommended, Energy Litigation - Oil and Gas, Energy Regulatory - Conventional Power, Energy Regulatory - Oil and Gas, The Legal 500 US (2012–2013, 2016-2020)
Recognized, International Who’s Who Legal for Energy Lawyers (2013–2019)
Board of Directors, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI)
Chair, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), Legal Advisory Committee
Vice Chair, Nuclear Energy Committee, American Bar Association, Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section