Scientist Discusses Nuclear Reactor Expansion Dangers

George B. Kistiakowsky, Lawrence Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, and one of the developers of the atomic bomb warned of the many dangers of increasing the use of nuclear reactors in this country at a South House science table last night.

Calling himself "a general skeptic about neclear breeder-reaction facilities," which many physicists see as the energy source of the future, Kistiakowsky described the poor safety measures that have been taken in preventing radiation leaks by the Atomic Energy Administration in the past.

"The principle of the Atomic Energy Commission has always been 'the public be damned,' "he said. "We've been damn lucky so far that nothing catastrophic has happened."

The major danger of expanding nuclear energy facilities consists of the "creation of an irrestible temptation to terrorists for blackmail," Kistiakowsky said. The threat of blackmail would "inevitably" create a large network of security operations including break-ins and buggings, which he considers "grave civil liberties threats," he said.

Instead of spreading nuclear reactors across the country, we should "engage ernestly in conservation and look into the sometime use of solar and geothermal energy," he said.


From 1959-61 Kistiakowsky was President Eisenhower's Special Assistant for Science, a post created to restore American scientific and technological leadership after the Soviet success with Sputnik I. He severed all ties with the Defense Department in 1968 after being "double-crossed about Vietnam," he said.