Nuclear Power: Risk, Liability, and Indemnity

In 1946, the Congress of the United States enacted the original Atomic Energy Act as the framework for development, control, and use of atomic energy. This Act provided for the transfer to the new Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), a civilian agency, of the entire atomic energy program which to that point had been conducted by the Manhattan Engineer District, a creature of the United States Army. The Act contemplated that the heart of the nuclear technology-the production of special nuclear material and the use of special nuclear material in both military and civil applications- would be a government monopoly. All special nuclear material in existence and to come into existence was to be owned by the government, and private persons were prohibited from owning or possessing special nuclear material and facilities for producing or utilizing special nuclear material.