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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

New nuclear

Harnessing existing and new nuclear technology

Nuclear is an important source of low-carbon power (over 26% of the world's total in 2020). New gigawatt nuclear power and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) have a vital role to play if we are to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.

Developers are also looking to use nuclear power to produce clean hydrogen ("pink" or "rose" hydrogen) and to drive CO2 capture plants, while fusion reactors may finally be on the horizon.

Our market leading global nuclear group is active in both developed and emerging markets and advises on both gigawatt nuclear and SMRs and across the full spectrum of issues relevant to nuclear development.

Recent client highlights

  • NuScale, Japan: Advised Japan Bank for International Cooperation on acquiring US$110 million equity in NuScale, to advance NuScale's small modular reactor (SMR) technologies and help improve the international competitiveness of Japanese nuclear power technology
  • Hinkley Point C, UK: Advised EDF on a joint venture with Chinese investors to the 3.2GW Hinkley Point C nuclear power project in the UK and the financing thereof by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. We also advised EDF on construction matters, project management arrangements, nuclear site licensing for the project and state aid.
  • Sizewell C, UK: Advised Sizewell C on the structuring and financing of a 3GW nuclear power project in the UK, with a view to attracting private investors (infrastructure funds, pension funds and alternative debt providers) to the project using a regulated asset base model.
  • Olkiluoto 3 Power Plant, Finland: Advised the French export Credit agency (Bpifrance) and the Covered lenders on the financing of an EPR nuclear reactor currently under construction in Finland.
  • Nuclear projects, USA: Advised in connection with the financing for a greenfield GW nuclear power plant. We are also advising on the initial stages of new-build SMR projects including equity structuring and financing arrangements.
  • French State: Advised the French State (Directorate General for Energy and the Climate (DGEC)) on the legislation relating to the EDF’s nuclear fleet (including the new legislation that will supersede the current French Regulated Access to Historical Nuclear Electricity (Accès régulé à l'électricité nucléaire historique – ARENH) applicable until 2025), and its impact on the upstream power production market.
  • Akkuyu, Turkey: Advised the Turkey-Russia joint-venture EPC contractor on all aspects relating to the construction and financing of the first new nuclear power project in Turkey. The plant will consist of four VVER-1200 power units with a total installed capacity of 4.8GW.
  • SMR, Nigeria: Advised a developer on a SMR project in Nigeria, including Government support arrangements, regulatory requirements, procurement, construction, equity arrangements and financing. This will be the first nuclear power project in Nigeria.

Unlocking UK's net zero investment

As one of the first countries to enact net zero emissions legislation, the UK has led in its ambitions to deliver the net zero transition. The CBI, in partnership with Clifford Chance, worked with investors and businesses to identify “pull factors” for net zero investments and propose immediate actions that need to be prioritised by the government to strengthen the UK’s offer.

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Energy Transition Trends 2023

Energy security and affordability have become a major issue for many countries. Rising inflation, increasingly frequent and significant climate events, and an uncertain geopolitical and economic outlook provide a challenging backdrop for governments committed to net zero targets and keen to accelerate the development of low-carbon energy. We highlight some trends which focus on some of the innovations and legal developments that we are seeing in a number of sectors to meet these challenges.

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