After 31 years at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, including 15 years as its general counsel, Karen Cyr is making her first foray into the world of private practice, and she's doing it at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Cyr joins the firm as a senior counsel.
From 1994 until her retirement in 2009, Cyr served as the NRC’s general counsel. In that role, she advised the commission on all legal matters, and she represented the commission before other government agencies, Congress, and foreign governments.
Cyr said she opted to join Morgan Lewis because the firm was making a push to broaden the international aspect of its nuclear energy practice. “That was an attractive opportunity for me,” Cyr said. “It was an opportunity to work with groups overseas and to give them advice on the role of the regulatory structure in the U.S. and how to navigate that structure.”
Morgan Lewis' nuclear practice is currently composed of 32 lawyers. Overall, the firm has 52 energy regulatory lawyers and another 41 that do energy transaction work.
Cyr said it’s an especially interesting time to be practicing nuclear energy law. With more and more countries, including the U.S., viewing nuclear energy as a way to curtail carbon emissions, Cyr said she expects there to be an uptick in the number of countries developing and opening new nuclear energy plants.
“I expect that there will be more plant applications to meet energy needs while at the same time working to curb carbon emissions in the U.S.,“ she said. “That’s also true worldwide, both among countries that have used nuclear energy in the past and those who are new to the arena.”