American Bar Association
Nuclear Law

Nuclear Law

About the Committee

Via teleconference and in-person at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Washington, DC

Building Atom Ants: A Panel Discussion on Small Modular Reactors
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Please register - RSVP
Dial-in information will be included in your registration confirmation e-mail.

Program Overview:
As the country moves towards a more agile and diverse energy supply, and many of the nation’s nuclear power reactors begin to reach their golden years, new reactor technologies are slated to come to the forefront. With their small size lending to their flexibility and lower start-up costs, small modular reactors (SMRs) are primed to reinvent the nuclear power field in coming years. Despite the potential benefits, there are still plenty of legal, regulatory, and technical hurdles to overcome before SMRs make their way into the nation’s nuclear power fleet. This panel will explore the technical aspects of SMRs, the policy benefits of SMRs, and the legal and regulatory challenges to incorporating SMRs into the nation’s nuclear energy fleet.

R. Budd Haemer
is Senior Nuclear Counsel for American Electric Power at its D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Michigan. Prior to that, he was a lawyer with the nuclear energy practice of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLC. His practice covers a wide range of legal topics pertaining to commercial nuclear power operation, including State and NRC regulatory matters, commercial transactions, employee relations, and government affairs. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Haemer served in the U.S. Navy as an engineering duty officer with the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, where he rose to the level of Deputy Program Manager for environmental, health and safety programs in the nuclear technology section.

Dr. John E. Kelly is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Reactor Technologies in the Office of Nuclear Energy within the Department of Energy (DOE). His office is responsible for the DOE’s civilian nuclear reactor research and development portfolio, which includes DOE’s programs on Small Modular Reactors, Light Water Reactor sustainability, and Generation IV reactors. Dr. Kelly chairs the Generation IV International Forum and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Standing Advisory Group on Nuclear Energy. Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Dr. Kelly spent 30 years at Sandia National Laboratories where he was engaged in a broad spectrum of research programs in nuclear reactor safety, advanced nuclear energy technology, and national security. Dr. Kelly received his B.S. in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 1976 and his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980.

Susan Vrahoretis is the Deputy Assistant General Counsel for New Reactor Programs in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Ms. Vrahoretis previously served as Legal Counsel to former Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane and as Chair of the General Counsel’s Small Modular Reactor Working Group. Ms. Vrahoretis received her law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, and her B.A. in Political Science from Valparaiso University.

Gary Becker is the Regulatory Affairs Counsel for NuScale Power, a designer and marketer of SMRs. Prior to that, Mr. Becker was an attorney law clerk in the Bonneville Power Administration’s Office of General Counsel. Mr. Becker also worked for Sargent & Lundy, LLC as a mechanical design engineer in its Nuclear Power Technologies group, where he focused on solutions for bringing nuclear power plants into compliance with NRC guidance. Mr. Becker received his law degree and an LL.M. from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of South Florida.

Sam Brinton is the Clean Energy Fellow at Third Way where he leads their work on advanced nuclear reactor policy. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), earning graduate degrees in Nuclear Science and Engineering as well as Technology and Policy. During his studies, Samuel worked with a variety of research laboratories such as Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory, think tanks like the Clean Air Task Force and the Breakthrough Institute, and research groups at MIT and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Questions: If you have any questions regarding the panel discussion or would like to submit questions in advance of the teleconference, please contact Matthew Ring at

In-Person Location: If you would like to attend the panel discussion in-person, please indicate that you will be attending the panel in-person when you register. The location is:
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, 1111 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004


About the Committee
The Nuclear Law Committee focuses on the legal issues related to nuclear power and nuclear materials. Nuclear power is more than just the licensing and operation of power plants—the nuclear fuel cycle also involves fuel production, storage and disposal. Nuclear materials are used to diagnose and treat many types of illness and injury; in industrial and construction applications; and in academia and scientific research.

Message From The Chair

Welcome to the 2014-2015 membership year! The Nuclear Law committee focuses on issues related to nuclear power, nuclear materials, nuclear medicine, state regulation of nuclear materials, and federal, state, and tribal relations. We strive to provide opportunities for professional discourse and information exchange within the bar of attorneys, scientists, and academics interested or involved in the nuclear field.

As I start my year as Chair, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to former chair Tison Campbell. Under his leadership, membership involvement in the Committee has grown and we were able to put on interesting and timely Committee programs that were widely attended and well-received. Membership grew so much in the past year that the Committee was awarded the “Best 2013-2014 Special Award on Membership Growth” at the 2014 ABA SEER Annual Conference held in Miami, Florida in October! We hope to build upon these accomplishments in the coming year.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s ahead for the Nuclear Law Committee during the 2014-2015 membership year:

· Committee Newsletter: issued 2-3 times per year, the newsletter provides insightful analysis on recent issues and trends in the nuclear sphere.

· Programming: Committee Conference Calls/Webinars; CLE and non-CLE opportunities.

· Opportunities to present, publish, network, and collaborate with others in the nuclear field.

· 44th Annual SEER Spring Conference in San Francisco, California (March 26-28, 2015)

The Committee intends to be an active participant in the Section's work, especially through newsletter publication, program sponsorship, and regular updates to this website and our LinkedIn group.

Please feel free to contact me to learn about more ways that you can be involved with the Committee and with your ideas to expand our offerings.

Christine A. Jochim


The Year in Review 2014

Every year the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources publishes a Year in Review. The Year in Review is the Section’s annual summary of important developments in environmental, energy, and resources law over the past year. The 2014 nuclear law chapter examines developments related to nuclear waste fees, Yucca Mountain, the NRC agreement state program, the Continued Storage rule, expedited spent fuel transfer, license renewal, foreign ownership and financial qualifications for merchant plants. The 2014 year in review, including a link to the nuclear law chapter, can be found here.

Join Us

View Committee Newsletters

Committee newsletters provide current information on topics of interest to practitioners and news of committee activities.

The April 2015 issue of the Nuclear Law Committee Newsletter is now available. The newsletter has been posted in .pdf format so that you can read the articles online or print out a copy to read at your convenience.

Articles in this issue include:

  • Message from the Committee Chair
  • ITAAC Hearing Procedures—Background and Status
  • The Fermi Mandatory Hearing
  • Recent Efforts to Amend the NRC’s Financial Qualification Regulations
  • New Cooling Water Intake Structures EPA Regulations and Nuclear Power Production
  • Electric Power Supply Ass’n v. FERC: Demand Response and Nuclear Power Production
If you have comments about this issue or would like to contribute to a future issue of the Nuclear Law Committee Newsletter, please contact me at

Committee Chair


Jochim, Christine

Committee Roster  

2014-2015 Committee Leadership

View the 2014-2015 Committee Leadership.

Newsletters and Publications

News and Links of Interest

Programs, Meetings & Events

Section Events

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Modified by Dana Jonusaitis on June 26, 2015

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