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The Militant, 15 June 1946

Atomic Energy Can Build a New
World – If Developed for Peace

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 24, 15 June 2021, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


While Washington monopolizes atomic energy as a war weapon, a few hints of the vast peacetime possibilities of this revolutionary source of heat, power, light, electricity, etc., have come from authoritative scientists. For example, Dr. Joyce C. Stearns, associated with the development of the atomic bomb, had the following to say recently:

“In the case of plutonium, man is making synthetic fuel. It is estimated that within ten years we could produce 20 tons of plutonium, which would produce as much power per year as we used a year before the war ... This nuclear power, which within 15 years could be equal in amount to all other power combined, is unique in that:

“1. The pile which produces nuclear power is a source of radiation ... Since the unit is such a prolific source of such varied radiation, it may be used for large-scale radiation therapy. Many types of rays are available and many patients could be treated at the same time.

Important Developments

“Also this radiation can be used for many important scientific experiments in the fields of biology, chemistry, metallurgy, and physics.

“2. The release of nuclear power is accompanied by the formation of radioactive chemicals which are in great demand for medical, scientific, and industrial use. Enough of this material has already been produced at Hanford to supersede all the radium in the world ...

“3. The release of nuclear energy requires no oxygen so it would be possible to drive a submarine under water by means of a steam turbine. Such a ship could travel under water at higher speed and for longer distances with none of the hazards connected with storage batteries.

“4. Finally the release of atomic power may be accompanied by the production of more fissionable material. Thus a nuclear power plant produces power, radioactive elements, and more fissionable material. Imagine a furnace which burns coal to produce heat, forms ashes of great medical and scientific value, and at the same time converts some very inferior fuel which is more plentiful than coal into a high-grade coal. A plant may be built to produce plutonium and the power used as a byproduct, or the plant may be designed to produce power and plutonium and radioactive isotopes be considered byproducts.” (Congressional Record, April 15)

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Last updated on 22 June 2021