Environment: New Nuclear Odds

For the better part of two decades, the Atomic Energy Commission has been bedeviled by a problem of its own making. In 1957 it released a report with the code name WASH-740. The study was full of careful qualifications, but its conclusion was clear: an accident at a hypothetical atomic plant that released radioactive material into the atmosphere could kill 3,400 people, injure 43,000 others and do some $7 billion worth of property damage. That graphic example has probably caused more disaffection with nuclear power plants than any other argument by any nuclear critic, Ralph Nader included.

Last week the AEC sought...

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