The Atomic Energy Act of 1946

AtomPresident Truman signs the Atomic Energy Act into law, laying the groundwork for both future military development of nuclear weapons and a civilian nuclear energy industry, though the latter will take time (and further amendments to the law) to develop. The primary development of the initial version of the law is the founding of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, a civilian agency intended to lead both areas of development (and intended to take over from the scientists who, up until now, had been operating in secret as part of the Manhattan Project). Over time, the Commission’s responsibilities will grow to include regulation, safety, and disposal of dangerous radioactive material. Major amendments will be made in 1954 under President Eisenhower to encourage the peacetime nuclear power industry to grow.