Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects today executed a $2.5 million contract with Egan & Associates, PLLC, a Washington D.C. area law practice known for its handling of large nuclear litigation matters. The firm was engaged to assist Nevada with its ongoing battle over the federal Energy Department's proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, as the project heads for anticipated certification by President Bush and licensing proceedings at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Under the three-year contract, Egan & Associates will assemble and manage a team of nuclear lawyers and government litigators. "This is the first step in a larger effort planned by Nevada," said Robert Loux, Executive Director of the agency. "We aim to fight the project on the merits, and with a world-class legal team."
Joseph R. Egan, chairman of Egan & Associates, is an MIT-trained nuclear engineer who has handled some of the highest profile nuclear matters in the world in recent years. He was recently elected U.S. Director of the International Nuclear Law Association. His firm represented numerous foreign research reactor operators and their governments in their successful attempts to return to the United States some 22,000 weapons-grade spent nuclear fuel elements, most of which are being shipped to the Energy Department's Savannah River Site in South Carolina. South Carolina twice sued to block the shipments. The firm was also involved in large cases concerning the South Texas Nuclear Project, the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Connecticut, the Energy Department's Paducah uranium enrichment plant in Kentucky, and a billion-dollar antitrust action against the nation's leading radioactive waste disposal operator. The firm represented Italy in a spent fuel dispute against the Energy Department in federal court.
Egan brings to the Yucca Mountain effort a nine-person team of NRC insiders and litigators, including William H. Briggs, former NRC Solicitor, Howard K. Shapar, former NRC Executive Legal Director, and Charles J. Cooper, a prominent Washington litigator. While at NRC, Mr. Briggs, currently a partner with Ross Dixon & Bell in Washington, handled several landmark nuclear cases, including the restart of the Three Mile Island nuclear station, the licensing of the Diablo Canyon reactor in California, and the attack by Massachusetts against NRC's emergency planning rule. Mr. Shapar directed numerous licensing hearings and rulemakings while at NRC, and also served in the mid-1980s as Director General of the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency in Paris. Mr. Cooper, former Assistant Attorney General for President Reagan's Office of Legal Counsel, was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist. For several years he ran the government litigation practice of the Washington firm of Shaw Pittman. He currently heads the D.C. firm of Cooper & Kirk. Among other victories, he represented New York in a constitutional challenge to the Line Item Veto Act, defeating President Clinton's first line-item veto. His firm also assisted presidential candidate George W. Bush in the election dispute before the Florida Supreme Court, and has joined Egan & Associates in a pending fraud case against an Energy Department contractor.