News & CommentPoint of View

AEC to Referee, Not Promote, Industry

Science  29 Oct 1971:
Vol. 174, Issue 4008, pp. 478
DOI: 10.1126/science.174.4008.478

Abstract

A major turnabout in the attitude of the Atomic Energy Commission toward the nuclear power industry was signaled last week by the ntew AEC chairman James R. Schlesinger. With patrician froideur, Schlesinger informed a mass gathering of the nuclear power industry at Bal Harbour, Florida, that from henceforth the AEC woLuld act as the referee of nuclear power, not its promoter. Saying he would dispense with the "anecdotes and clumsy jests" customary on such occasions, Schlesinger served notice on the nuclear banqueters that their cozy relationship with the AEC was at an end. The industry should not expect the AEC to fight its battles: it should take its own case to the public-as the Sierra Club does. Nor did the AEC intend to bend the rules in industry's favor. "We have had a fair amount of advice on how to evade the clear mandate of the federal courts. It is advice we did not think proper to accept," Schlesinger said. Even on matters of engineering quality, the diners were told they knew full well they had "reason to blush." Roused out of any postprandial euphoria by this glacial disdain, the industry representatives heard the new chairman announce the following radical upheavals in official AEC philosophy.

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