Business & Finance: Atomic Offspring

When Oak Ridge released the radioactive byproducts of its atomic pile for private use in 1946, few U.S. businessmen paid much attention. But to a handful of young M.I.T.-trained scientists it was big news; they were ready to cash in on the first U.S. commercial use of atomic energy. They had already pooled their $31,000 in savings to form Tracerlab, Inc., and had rented dilapidated quarters down near Boston's South Station.

By last week, Boston's radioactive, midget had chain-reacted into a million-a-year business. Tracerlab's shy, ascetic president, William E. Barbour Jr., 39, announced...

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