Martin O’Neill represents businesses in nuclear regulatory and licensing matters before the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). His clients include electric utilities, nuclear energy and fuel cycle companies, and radioactive materials licensees. He also counsels clients in related adjudicatory proceedings before the NRC and its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. Additionally, Martin periodically assists in briefing nuclear regulatory issues in the US federal courts and advising clients on judicial review issues.
During his career, Martin has advised clients on an array of nuclear regulatory issues. These include compliance with NRC requirements related to nuclear security and safeguards, emergency preparedness, seismic hazard assessment, severe accident mitigation alternatives (SAMA) analysis, and post-Fukushima mitigation strategies. He has also worked with clients on radiological effluent and environmental monitoring, radiological materials transport, low-level radioactive waste disposal, reactor aging management programs, facility decommissioning, and license termination.
Clients also turn to Martin for guidance on matters involving federal preemption of state law, NRC enforcement actions, import and export of nuclear materials and technology, foreign ownership of US nuclear facilities, and the application of certain federal environmental statutes, particularly the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Martin has counseled many clients in nuclear licensing proceedings conducted pursuant to NRC regulations in 10 CFR Parts 30, 40, 50, 52, 54, 70, and 72, including related NRC adjudications and judicial proceedings.
License Renewal: Currently represents energy company clients in the pending contested license renewal proceedings for the Indian Point Energy Center and Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.
New Reactor Licensing: Advised utility client on licensing and litigation matters related to its NRC-approved application for combined operating licenses (COLs) to build and operate two new nuclear power reactors at its Virgil C. Summer site in South Carolina.
Early Site Permitting: Represented energy company in the NRC mandatory hearing on its NRC-approved application for an early site permit to build a new nuclear power plant at its Grand Gulf site in Mississippi.
License Transfer: Represented energy company in the indirect license transfer proceeding stemming from a proposed corporate restructuring involving six of the company’s nuclear power plants.
Uranium Enrichment Facility Licensing: Assisted three separate companies in obtaining combined licenses to construct and operate uranium enrichment facilities in the United States. The latest representation involved advising a global energy company on all aspects of its NRC-approved application to build and operate the world’s first laser isotope-based uranium enrichment facility.
Spent Fuel Repository Licensing: Advised the US Department of Energy (DOE) on NEPA issues related to its preparation of a supplemental environmental impact statement for the proposed Yucca Mountain geologic repository, and also on NRC seismic and aircraft hazard evaluation requirements. Also represented DOE in the NRC adjudicatory proceeding on its former construction authorization request.
Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) Licensing: Successfully litigated complex geotechnical and seismic issues associated with an energy utility consortium’s proposal to build an away-from-reactor ISFSI in Utah. Also successfully defended a utility against an attempt to enjoin the loading of spent nuclear fuel into an ISFSI co-located at a Western US nuclear power plant.
Judicial Review of NRC Licensing Actions: Co-authored an appellate brief on behalf of an energy company in a case before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit concerning the NRC’s alleged duty to analyze acts of terrorism under NEPA. The court ruled in favor of the client and the NRC in this matter. See New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. NRC, 561 F.3d 132 (3d Cir. 2009).
Colgate University, 1994, B.A., Magna Cum Laude
University of Texas School of Law, 2000, J.D.
District of Columbia
Awards and Affiliations
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)
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Energy Bar Association
Member, State Bar of Texas, Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Section
Member, Nuclear Energy Institute Lawyers Committee