John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks Upon Signing the Atomic Energy Commission Authorization Bill

September 26, 1962

I am pleased to sign H.R. 11974, the Atomic Energy Commission 1963 Authorization Bill.

One portion of this legislation--for which we have waited for quite some time--will make it possible for the steam produced by the Hanford new production reactor to be transformed into electricity and distributed to the homes and factories of the Pacific Northwest.

It is a source of great satisfaction to me that a way has now been opened for the efficient utilization of this energy resource for the benefit of this growing region. To have permitted this resource to be wasted would have been in conflict with all principles of resource conservation and utilization to which we are committed.

This project is for peacetime application and atomic heat for electricity which will produce a million kilowatts, approximately. It will be four times larger than any other project in the world. It will give the United States a freer margin for superiority in the peacetime use of atomic energy. I think that it will benefit, in that way, the entire country, North and South and West, so I want to compliment those Members of Congress and the Joint Committee and the Interior Committee and others who have played an important role in the great passing of this legislation. I particularly congratulate Chet Holifield and Senator Jackson for their part in this effort.

As I stated in my letter of July 13, 1962, to Chairman Holifield of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy,1 the proposal of the Washington Public Power Supply System to utilize the Hanford steam for the production of power presents an opportunity, dearly in the public interest, to obtain the maximum benefits from the public investment already committed for this facility and to demonstrate national leadership in resources development while furthering national defense objectives.

The arrangements contemplated by this legislation will provide assurance that the interests of taxpayers, consumers, and other producers of electric power will be adequately protected.

Enactment of this legislation is a highly significant achievement, and the Members of both Houses of Congress--in particular the members of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy--are to be congratulated on the success of their unremitting efforts to bring about the utilization of the major national resource represented by the by-product energy of the Hanford reactor.

Congratulations to all those involved.

Note: The President spoke at noon in the office at the White House. During his remarks he referred to Representative Chet Holifield of California, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, and Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington, a member of the Joint Committee.

As enacted, H.R. 11974 is Public Law 87-701 (76 Stat. 599).

1 Item 289.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Signing the Atomic Energy Commission Authorization Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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