Atomic Power Development

June 10, 1964

Report Outline
Resurgence of Interest in Nuclear Power
Concern Over Safety of Nuclear Plants
Partnership Policy in Power Development
Development of Nuclear Power Abroad

Resurgence of Interest in Nuclear Power

Use of atomic power to generate electricity is beginning to come into its own in the United States after a slow start. Initial criticality—the capacity to sustain a chain fission reaction—was achieved last year in the reactors of five American nuclear power plants. The net installed electric generating capacity of all nuclear power stations in the country reached a total of more than a million kilowatts in 1983—enough to meet the domestic needs of about 1½ million people. Another million kilowatts of capacity is currently at advanced stages of construction, and 2½ million kilowatts is on the drawing boards.

Need to Develop Additional Sources of Power

The total capacity of existing and projected nuclear power stations will be large enough to fill only a fraction of America's growing power requirements. The country's electric power industry had an installed capacity last year in excess of 200 million kilowatts and produced an all-time high of 921 billion kilowatt-hours of energy. The United States is expected to need an output of nearly 2.7 trillion kilowatt-hours by 1980, according to recent projections by an advisory committee of the Federal Power Commission. A large part of the increased production of power will be needed to heat 19 million all-electric homes and to operate newly electrified rail lines.

Most of the electric energy produced in 1980 will still be generated by hydro facilities or at steam plants fueled by coal, oil, or natural gas. But although the United States has been blessed with abundant supplies of fossil fuels, its resources of that kind are not inexhaustible. The Atomic Energy Commission reported in late 1962 that at projected rates of consumption this country would exhaust “readily available, low-cost supplies of fossil fuels in from 75 to 100 years and our presently visualized total supplies in from 150 to 200 years.” The commission warned that it might be necessary to start tapering off consumption of fossil fuels “within the life-span of persons now alive.” Therefore, other sources of energy would have to be developed in the not distant future.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Nuclear Power
Jun. 10, 2011  Nuclear Power
Jan. 28, 2011  Managing Nuclear Waste
Jan. 2007  Nuclear Proliferation
Mar. 10, 2006  Nuclear Energy
Jun. 08, 2001  Nuclear Waste
Jan. 22, 1993  Nuclear Fusion
Feb. 22, 1991  Will Nuclear Power Get Another Chance?
Dec. 05, 1986  Nuclear Reactor Safety
Jul. 29, 1983  Nuclear Power's Future
Dec. 04, 1981  America's Nuclear Waste Backlog
Sep. 12, 1980  Nuclear Fusion Development
Aug. 10, 1979  Determining Radiation Dangers
Dec. 03, 1976  Nuclear Waste Disposal
Aug. 22, 1975  Nuclear Safety
Aug. 04, 1971  Nuclear Power Options
Jun. 10, 1964  Atomic Power Development
Feb. 12, 1958  Radiation Hazards
Feb. 27, 1957  Atomic Power Race
Mar. 29, 1955  Atomic Energy for Industry
Apr. 24, 1946  Control of Atomic Energy
International Energy Trade and Cooperation
Nuclear Energy
Renewable Energy Resources and Alternative Fuels