Throwback Thursday: The Signing of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946

President Truman signs the Atomic Energy Act of 1946.President Harry Truman signed the Atomic Energy Act 68 years ago this month – Aug. 1, to be exact. The act set up the Atomic Energy Commission, a civilian agency charged with managing the nuclear technology developed during WWII. Later, the AEC was divided into two agencies – the NRC and the Department of Energy. The NRC was tasked with regulating civilian nuclear technologies. Pictured behind President Truman (left to right) are seven men: Tom Connally, Eugene Millikin, Edwin Johnson, Thomas Hart, Brien McMahon, Warren Austin and Richard Russell. What did the men all have in common? Photo courtesy of the Department of Energy.

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

7 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: The Signing of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946”

  1. The AEC was not divided into the DOE and NRC, rather it was divided into ERDA and NRC. Only later was DOE formed out of ERDA.

  2. RE: Later, the AEC was divided into two agencies – the NRC and the Department of Energy.

    That was done because there was (and still is) a conflict of interest between the Regulating and the Promoting of “Atomic” energy! Left out and not mentioned are the public conversation/oversight of the BLACK “Atomic” projects that have now come back to haunt US, due to the costs needed to decontaminate their wide spread (no pun intended) radioactive pollution, caused in part because of the lack of credible public oversight on these projects, since the nuclear industry has a proven track record of putting profits before safety.

  3. Steven is correct. Senator Richard Russell represented Georgia. Senator Brien McMahon represented Connecticut


  4. Since BRIAN MCMAHON was from Connecticut, TOM CONNALLY, Texas, EUGENE D. MILLIKIN, Colorado, EDWIN C. JOHNSON, Colorado, THOMAS C. HART, Connecticut, WARREN R. AUSTIN, Vermont, and ARTHUR H. VANDENBERG, was from Michigan, that means Richard B. Russell was the exception and he was from Georgia. Not pictured, but members of the Special Committee were

  5. Senator Brien McMaon, a Fordham University graduate, I believe represented the State of New York.

  6. That is correct! All of the senators pictured represented states in the West or New England — with one exception. Which senator was the exception and which state was he from?


  7. They were all US Senators, selected to be part of the “Special Committee on Atomic Energy (S. Res. 179), created by the Senate under a special resolution to investigate problems related to the development, use and control of Atomic Energy.

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