Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



When the Congress adopted the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, releasing the atom from federal monopoly and inviting the division of regulatory and control functions between the federal government and the states, the gates were opened for large-scale participation by private industry in the new technology. It was natural, therefore, that the states should begin to view with awakened interest the role which they are to play in the development and regulation of this new source of energy. However amorphous the role of the states may be as yet, some preparation is being made to accept the responsibilities which will devolve upon them. At the 1956 Southern Governors' Conference the Southern Regional Advisory Council on Nuclear Energy was established "to deal with the feasibility of united action in the development of industrial opportunities in the South through nuclear energy, research and otherwise." This Council, after extensive investigation and study, recommended a nuclear energy compact among the Southern States encompassed within the Southern Governors' Conference and a proposed Nuclear Interstate Compact (NIC) was drafted and presented for state legislative approval early in 1959. The purpose of this note is to assess the suitability of the proposed compact as a tool of regional development and regulation of atomic energy.