The Energy Reorganization Act (ERA) of 1974 established the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA), dividing the research and regulatory aspects of nuclear power. Until 1974, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which this act abolished, oversaw both the nuclear weapons program and the development and safety programs for civilians’ uses of nuclear material.
This Act gave the ERDA control over the development and production of nuclear weapons, promotion of nuclear power, and other energy-related research. The ERDA did not concentrate soley on nuclear energy research, but also on the development of alternative energy sources such as solar energy, the conversion of solid wastes into various fuels, and health research.
The NRC was made responsible for regulatory work, not including regulation of nuclear defense facilities. The ERA also established the goal of efficient energy utilization while enhancing environmental protection and safety. A later amendment to the ERA gave the NRC the task of providing protections for employees who raise nuclear safety concerns. In 1977, the Department of Energy Organization Act established the Department of Energy (DOE) which absorbed the ERDA.
- Nuclear Regulatory Legislation: Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)