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The Law of Nuclear Energy

The Law of Nuclear Energy
3rd Edition
Practice Area:  Energy Law
ISBN:  9780414091207
Published by:  Sweet & Maxwell
Author:Helen Cook
Publication Date:  31 Aug 2022
Subscription Information:  Non-Subscribable Product
Format:  Hardback
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Whatever area you work in – development, finance or research – this essential text helps you understand all aspects of the law of nuclear energy.

Part 1: Offers a comprehensive overview of nuclear law and nuclear power projects, providing a foundation upon which countries can establish or develop legislative frameworks and regulate nuclear power projects.
Part 2: Covers the development of nuclear power projects, providing, amongst other things, guidance on producing a tender document evaluating tenders, a review of the key provisions of a nuclear construction contract and an introduction to nuclear finance. It also has chapters covering the front and back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Part 3: Discusses small modular nuclear reactors (“SMRs”) and future issues in international nuclear energy law.

The text:
  • Overviews the legal aspects of establishing a nuclear power programme
  • Discusses how to properly implement the obligations contained in the international conventions at a national level
  • Describes the primary components of national nuclear law and regulation, including licensing and permitting
  • Examines key areas of nuclear law, such as nuclear liability, nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear safety and nuclear security
  • Considers how to develop nuclear power plant tenders and evaluate proposals
  • Describes different types of construction contracts and primary clauses, including dispute management and avoidance
  • Introduces nuclear finance and overviews nuclear power project risks and risk allocation
  • Describes the nuclear fuel cycle and discusses both the front and back ends of the cycle
  • Focuses on small modular nuclear reactors and their potential benefits and legal challenges

The 3rd edition has been updated throughout with highlights including:
  • Updated in tandem with developments in the global climate change agenda and potential role of nuclear energy in meeting decarbonisation goals and commitments. 
  • New content on utilisation of bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements and formation of strategic partnerships for nuclear new build.
  • Expansion of content regarding preliminary considerations prior to drafting a national nuclear law. 
  • Expansion of content on structuring the nuclear regulatory body and its early activities. New content on Canadian Vendor Design Review within pre-licensing activities. 
  • Revisions to account for the entry into force of the 2004 Protocols to the Paris Convention and Brussels Supplementary Conventions on 1 January 2022. New content on considerations for governments with respect to becoming a party to an international nuclear liability regime and how to select the optimal convention/combination of conventions.  
  • Developments in sustainable finance impacting nuclear energy projects. 
  • Revisions to account for developments in the vendor market. New content on SMR licensing approaches. 

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International Energy Law Review


Reviewed by Dr Tim Stone CBE

Helen Cook’s The Law of Nuclear Energy, 2nd edn, published by Sweet & Maxwell, with an introduction by George Borovas, is a vital part of every energy professional’s library. Helen’s passion for both the low-carbon nature of nuclear power but also its far wider impact on civil society shines through her carefully constructed text. The book provides coverage of the full sphere of the legal aspects of civil nuclear power from an international perspective with many references to specific national issues. Recent updates are dealt with clearly, including the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage—which creates a global nuclear liability regime—as well as the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

The book addresses legal aspects of nuclear law for a variety of readers—from policy-makers to nuclear project developers and financiers. It sets out, clearly, both the basis and practice of law and regulation of every aspect of civil nuclear power from the front end of the fuel cycle, through construction, operation, decommissioning and the back end of the fuel cycle. The section on regulation is particularly useful to help understand the wide range of different approaches which are taken around the world from the outcome-based approach in the UK through a "goal setting regime" to the more prescriptive "requirements" based approach of the US. Understanding these cultural differences is a critical step to any work in civil nuclear power.

The book is logically structured and flows from the Legal Infrastructure for Nuclear Energy, through Nuclear Power New Build (with extensive coverage of the issues involved in the many different aspects of construction and financing) through to the Future of Nuclear Law in which Helen also addresses the emerging importance of small modular reactors. This interest in a more manufactured approach as opposed to conventional construction on site is clearly visible in very many countries—the geographic diversity in several countries is driving real interest in smaller devices to service remote communities while elsewhere in the world significant effort is either planned or underway to develop and deploy smaller conventional designs as well as advanced modular designs. Taking nuclear to a mass production, manufactured solution focused on cheap, low carbon electricity production is key to the energy futures in many countries and Helen’s book covers the vital legal issues around this.

Helen’s book is more than just a textbook. It is well written and comprehensive in coverage and should be read carefully from the outset of policy-making so that governmental context can be as considered as possible. For the developers and financiers, the book provides an important tutorial which should be part of the preparation for early thinking about potential projects. The book is based on wide practical experience of advising on large successful projects around the world, including her ground-breaking experience in her work on the first projects in previously non-nuclear countries where the entire nuclear process has been started from scratch. The book overall is the result of painstaking work and is clearly written and easily assimilable—the author’s passion for her subject shines throughout.

Dr Tim Stone CBE

Chairman, Nuclear Risk Insurers & Non-Executive Director, Horizon Nuclear Power

I.E.L.R. 2018, 5, 185

© 2018 Sweet & Maxwell and its Contributors

“The second edition of The Law of Nuclear Energy represents an outstanding example of both legal research and practice. The author demonstrates a deep knowledge of the legal base and key experiences that apply to counselling in the nuclear sector. Her second edition is certainly interesting for both practitioners looking for comprehensive overview on existing legal framework in this particular field of industry as well as policymakers (from both traditional nuclear states and from nuclear ‘newcomers’) who deal with strategic issues of energy policy and security. The book will also serve as a valuable source of information for international lawyers inquiring into this particular field of law and academicians commenting upon this peculiar area of law.”

- Jakub Handrlica. Helen Cook, The Law of Nuclear Energy, 2nd Edition. Journal of World Energy Law & Business (2019) jwz005, doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jwelb/jwz005


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