Atomic Energy: Turning the Corner

Almost from the moment that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, physicists and businessmen have been promising that peaceful and cheap nuclear electricity was just around the corner. The corner has been tough to turn. Early estimates of cost and efficiency were overly optimistic; private utilities were wary in spite of $1.3 billion spent on AEC research and generous Government fuel-cost waivers and reimbursements for design work. But now the corner has been rounded, and commercial nuclear power has gone critical.

In the past eight months, three large atomic-power contracts have been awarded, a fourth bid on, a fifth announced. Eleven...

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