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ERIC Number: ED178369
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: N/A
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Politics of Science and Technology: Nuclear and Solar Alternatives.
Etzkowitz, Henry
Historical data reveal that U.S. government policy and military and corporate interests have been instrumental in the development of nuclear energy and the underdevelopment of solar energy. It was not until 1972 that solar energy was funded by the Energy Research and Development Agency (ERDA) and in 1974 solar energy received $12.2 million as compared to $475.4 million for nuclear fission. Although a low-cost source of pollution-free energy, the photovoltaic solar cell, has been close to the point of availability for over twenty years, recommendations by scientists have not been followed by a sufficient commitment of funds to achieve any significant results. The lack of funding is a result of ERDA's commitment to the development of atomic energy. However, this commitment is a result of President Eisenhower's 1953 speech to the United Nations to lessen public anxiety about the dangers of atomic weapons. The speech created the Atoms for Peace Program in which the commitment of funds for nuclear power research was made not on the judgment of the potential of nuclear reactors as a source of inexpensive power, but rather as a legitimization for the continued development of atomic weapons. Therefore, the key difference between solar and nuclear research is that the commitment of government resources to the development of the atomic bomb led to the creation of a large-scale nuclear industry as part of the military-industrial complex. And, because large corporations in the oil-energy industry are committed by previous investments to oil, coal, and nuclear energy technologies, the potential source for the development of solar energy lies in the confluence of the environmental and anti-nuclear social movements. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: N/A
Note: Not available from EDRS in paper copy due to light print type of original document; Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (San Francisco, California, September 4-8, 1978)