Ryan K. Lighty represents and advises utilities, merchant plants, reactor designers, technology startups, and other domestic and international energy industry participants and investors in litigation, transactional, and regulatory matters before the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the US Department of Energy (DOE), and in federal court.
He advises clients on NRC licensing issues (including license applications, amendments, renewals, transfers, and terminations) related to new and operating power reactors, research and test reactors, independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSIs), fuel cycle facilities, and industrial and medical use of radioactive source, by-product, and special nuclear materials, as well as reactor operator licensing and NRC and DOE (Part 810) export and import controls. Ryan also counsels clients on NRC design certifications for advanced reactors and small modular reactors, as well as DOE grants, intellectual property waivers, and energy efficiency standards. He also guides clients on complex NRC regulatory matters, including fitness-for-duty, access authorization, and nuclear security programs.
Ryan has represented and advised clients in adjudicatory matters before the Commission and the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), conducted independent investigations of Safety Conscious Work Environment (SCWE) and safety culture matters and whistleblower allegations in response to NRC Requests for Information (RFIs), represented clients in Department of Labor (DOL) proceedings under Section 211 of the Energy Reorganization Act, and advised clients on investigations by the NRC’s Office of Investigations (OI).
In addition, Ryan counsels clients on various issues related to nuclear decommissioning trusts and investments, foreign ownership and investment restrictions, domestic and international nuclear liability regimes (including Price-Anderson Act liability issues), and reorganizations and transactions involving regulated nuclear activities.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Ryan was an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the NRC, where he advised and represented the Commission and agency staff on new reactor licensing, fuel cycle facility regulation, physical and cyber security, whistleblower investigations, NEPA litigation, labor and employment matters, and security clearance adjudications. He served as acting regional counsel in the agency’s Region III office where he advised regional allegations, enforcement, and OI staff. Prior to attending law school, he was a legislative staff member with the Indiana Senate.
Duke University, 2014, Certificate in the National Environmental Policy Act
Indiana State University, 2003, B.S.
Indiana University School of Law, 2011, J.D., cum laude
District of Columbia
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
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)
Executive Managing Editor, Indiana International & Comparative Law Review
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society