Ryan K. Lighty represents and advises utilities and other energy industry participants and investors in litigation, transactional, and regulatory matters before the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), other state and federal agencies, and in federal court. Ryan regularly counsels businesses on a range of complex issues associated with obtaining, amending, renewing, transferring, and terminating licenses for nuclear materials, nuclear reactors (including power and non-power reactors, advanced reactors, and small modular reactors) and medical isotope facilities. He also helps clients navigate the various regulatory issues associated with decommissioning NRC-licensed facilities.
Ryan has represented NRC licensees as counsel of record in more contested adjudicatory proceedings before the NRC (i.e., the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) and the Commission) than any other attorney in the past five years, and has litigated a variety of technical, environmental, and financial matters. He also routinely guides clients on multifaceted regulatory compliance issues related to fitness-for-duty and work hour requirements, access authorization, firearms regulation, physical and cybersecurity, and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). He also holds a Top Secret "Q" clearance and is part of the firm's Classified Information Services practice.
Ryan works with clients to analyze safety and licensing issues related to the production, use, and transportation of hydrogen to combat climate change. He also helps clients achieve their sustainability/net-zero goals through nuclear plant license extensions and deployment of advanced nuclear technologies.
Additionally, Ryan has experience in performing internal investigations for NRC licensees. He regularly provides advice on Safety Conscious Work Environment (SCWE) and safety culture issues, and has defended clients against whistleblower retaliation claims before the US Department of Labor. Ryan also helps employers navigate government ethics restrictions applicable to current and former federal agency employees, and advises clients regarding energy efficiency standards established by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Before joining Morgan Lewis, Ryan was an attorney in the NRC’s Office of the General Counsel and served as acting regional counsel in the agency's Region III office.
Florida Power & Light Company (Turkey Point Units 3 and 4) in obtaining a Subsequent License Renewal (SLR), a first-of-its-kind licensing action that will allow the units to operate from 60 to 80 years beyond their initial licensing dates.
NextEra Energy (Seabrook) in obtaining a license amendment related to approval of an engineering methodology for demonstrating the structural adequacy of Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR)-affected concrete structures.
Interim Storage Partners in connection with numerous safety and environmental matters raised in the highly contested licensing proceeding to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Southwest Texas.
Duke University, 2014, Certificate in the National Environmental Policy Act
Indiana University School of Law, 2011, J.D., cum laude
Indiana State University, 2003, B.S.
District of Columbia
US Supreme Court
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Awards and Affiliations
Recognized, “Ones to Watch,” The Best Lawyers in America (2021)
Rising Star, Washington, DC Super Lawyers (2018–2021)
Member, Nuclear Energy Institute, License Renewal Environmental Task Force
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 (2010–2011)
Member, American Bar Association (ABA)
Member, ABA Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section (IRIS)
Member, ABA-IRIS Nuclear Energy Committee
Member, ABA Section of Energy, Environment, and Resources (SEER)
Vice Chair, ABA-SEER Nuclear Law Committee
Member, Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society