Nation: Watching the Watchdogs

Does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulate enough ?

The reactor accident on Three Mile Island brought into public glare a little-known federal agency with tremendous responsibilities: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is charged with making sure that nuclear plants are safe before it licenses them, and then enforcing strict operating rules. President Carter's inquiry into the reasons for the near disaster in Pennsylvania will inevitably examine the performance of the NRC.

Regulation of reactors began under the Atomic Energy Commission, set up in 1946 shortly after the first atomic bomb fell on Japan. The...

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