Atomic Energy Act of 1954 was an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. This Act was passed to monitor the commercial and national defense uses of atomic energy. Government concerns included radiation hazards and the disposal of radioactive waste. The act establishes a general regulatory structure for construction and use of nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons facilities. Unlike most environmental statutes, it does not permit citizen suits and affords only limited opportunities for suits by public interest groups.
The legislation, 42 USCS § 2011m, provides as follows:
“Atomic energy is capable of application for peaceful as well as military purposes. It is therefore declared to be the policy of the United States that:
(a) the development, use, and control of atomic energy shall be directed so as to make the maximum contribution to the general welfare, subject at all times to the paramount objective of making the maximum contribution to the common defense and security; and
(b) the development, use, and control of atomic energy shall be directed so as to promote world peace, improve the general welfare, increase the standard of living, and strengthen free competition in private enterprise”.