Chapter

The Debate over Nuclear Power and Radiation

J. Samuel Walker

in Permissible Dose

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780520223288
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924840 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520223288.003.0002
The Debate over Nuclear Power and Radiation

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The fallout controversy with respect to nuclear power and radiation of the 1950s and early 1960s largely disappeared as a prominent public policy issue after the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963. But many questions about the consequences of fallout remained unresolved, and the debate left a legacy of ongoing scientific inquiry and latent public anxiety about the health effects of low-level radiation. The major issue was the hazards of radioactive effluents released from nuclear power plants. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which the 1954 Atomic Energy Act had made responsible both for encouraging the development of nuclear power and for certifying its safety, stood at the center of the new debate over radiation risks. Critics emphasized the AEC's dual and inherently conflicting mandate to promote and to regulate nuclear power technology in their indictments of the agency's performance.

Keywords: Limited Test Ban Treaty; Atomic Energy Commission; debate; nuclear power; energy

Chapter.  15472 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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