Atomic Energy Law-Atomic Energy Act of 1954- Substantial Legal Restrictions on the Private Development of Nuclear Reactors

In 1956 the Power Reactor Development Company received a construction permit from the Atomic Energy Commission to build a fast breeder nuclear reactor at Lagoona Beach, thirty miles southwest of Detroit, Michigan. Intervening pursuant to section 189 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, several unions claimed that the health, safety, and property of their members would be jeopardized by the operation of the reactor. Formal hearings were held before the AEC and a final decision affirming the issuance of a construction permit to PRDC was made by the Commission in 1959. On appeal to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, held, grant of construction permit set aside and matter remanded for further proceedings, one judge dissenting. The safety findings required for issuance of a construction permit are identical with those required for issuance of an operating license. Further, the location of a reactor near a large population center was not authorized by the 1954 act. Electrical Workers v. United States, 280 F.2d 645 (D.C. Cir. 1960), cert. granted, 364 U.S. 889 (1960).