The promise and peril of nuclear power have been a preoccupation of
the modern age. Though the nuclear industry has witnessed periods
of expansion and retrenchment, there are now more than one hundred
nuclear reactors providing America with almost a quarter of its
Robert Duffy now examines the politics of nuclear power over the
last fifty years, relating broad trends in American politics to
changes in the regulation of the nuclear industry to show how
federal policies in this area have been made, implemented, and
altered. He weaves a discussion of institutional change in all
three branches of government into a study of agenda-setting,
regulatory reform, and "subgovernment" politics, demonstrating how
these forces combined to create policy change in this important
area of public policy.
Duffy's work traces nuclear politics from the creation of a
powerful subgovernment through the public lobby reforms of the late
1960s and early 1970s and the deregulatory backlash of the Reagan
years. He demonstrates that while policies did change in the 1970s,
they did not change as much as other accounts have suggested, and
that the industry continued to receive considerable federal
support. The book is particularly significant for extending the
discussion of nuclear policy through the Bush and Clinton years,
including the controversy over waste disposal, new licensing
procedures enacted in the 1992 Amendments to the Atomic Energy Act,
and the effects of deregulation of electric utilities.
By providing both a description of the transformation of this
policy community and an analysis of how regulatory change occurs,
Nuclear Politics in America offers a new and important view of
policymaking in America.
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