Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Authorizing Appropriations for the Atomic Energy Commission.
I HAVE TODAY approved H. R. 8996, authorizing appropriations for the Atomic Energy Commission. This bill provides authorizations as requested by the Commission for its projected program. It is a great improvement indeed over the bills introduced early in the session which would have required the Commission to build and operate a number of full-scale power reactors at a cost for construction alone of $400 million of public money. I am glad that Congress saw the undesirability of proceeding with that program.
The bill includes a provision directing the Commission to proceed with design and engineering studies for two reactor types, both of which the Commission considers unnecessary and undesirable at this time--a plutonium production reactor, and a natural uranium gas-cooled power reactor--and to report back to the Congress by April first next.
While I am not opposed to such projects as studies by the Commission I wish to make it clear that I will oppose the expenditure of public money for the construction and operation by the Government of any large-scale power reactor, or any prototype thereof, unless private enterprise has first received reasonable opportunity to bear or share the cost. This comports with the precept in the first chapter of the basic law which declares that the policy of the United States shall be to "strengthen free competition in private enterprise."
Note: As enacted, H. R. 8996 is Public Law 85-162 (71 Stat. 403).
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Authorizing Appropriations for the Atomic Energy Commission. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233477