Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Radio and Television Remarks on the Occasion of the Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the Shippingport Atomic Power Plant

September 06, 1954

Fellow citizens:

On this Labor Day, 1954, we Americans pause to take special note of the dignity and the worth--and the tremendous accomplishment--of the individual worker in our land. On this day we salute with special pride the unmatched productivity of our working men and women. All Americans are grateful for this proof of what free people can achieve.

It is our good fortune, therefore, that on this special day we take a historic step forward, opening for all of us new avenues to constructive employment, to prosperity, to respite from burdensome toil.

For today, at Shippingport, Pennsylvania, we begin building our first atomic power plant of commercial size--a plant expected to produce electricity for 100,000 people. In thus advancing toward the economic production of electricity by atomic power, mankind comes closer to fulfillment of the ancient dream of a new and a better earth.

But we do not stop with this plant, nor, indeed with our own country's hopes and dreams. Our many proposals for peaceful use of the atom have so far been cynically blocked in the councils of the world, but we shall proceed onward. We shall proceed now--under safeguards set forth in our law--to share atomic technology with others of good will.

We have just agreed with a number of other nations to go ahead now with the formation of an international agency which will foster the growth and spread of the new atomic technology for peaceful use. Atomic materials for projects sponsored by this agency will be set aside for that purpose. We hope that no nation will long stand aloof from the work of this agency.

As these arrangements are being made, we will set up a reactor school to help train representatives of friendly nations in skills needed for their own atomic programs. Discussions also will shortly take place on cooperation with countries planning to build their own research reactors.

We are, moreover, about to negotiate with the Government of Belgium on the building of an atomic power reactor in that country. On Thursday of this week, we begin talks on atomic matters with our friends in Canada. Negotiations with other friendly nations will swiftly follow.

My friends, through such measures as these, and through knowledge we are sure to gain from this new plant we begin today, I am confident that the atom will not be devoted exclusively to the destruction of man, but will be his mighty servant and tireless benefactor.

It is, then, with profound hope and confidence--and with prayer for the future ages of mankind--that I now, by this act, begin construction of America's first commercial-size atomic power plant.

Note: The President's words were broadcast over radio and television from station KOA-TV in Denver. At the close of his remarks he set in motion, by remote control, a bulldozer at the Shippingport site.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Radio and Television Remarks on the Occasion of the Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the Shippingport Atomic Power Plant Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232645

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