The United States' first full-scale atomic power station devoted to peaceful commercial uses was dedicated by President Eisenhower on May 26th.
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Background: The United States' first full-scale atomic power station devoted to peaceful commercial uses was dedicated by President Eisenhower on May 26th. At the end of a brief talk from the White House, the President waved a neutron wand above a neutron counter to start, by remote control, an electric motor at the Duquesne Light Company's atomic plant 240 miles away, on the Ohio River, 25 miles west of Pittsburgh.
The motor opened the main turbine throttle valve, raising power production to 60,000 kilowatts, sufficient for a community of 250,000. The surge of electricity flowed into the synchronised system of the utility, which serves the Pittsburgh area.
This was a belated ceremony, Shippingport atomic power station has been in action since Dec. 18th., 1957. The delay brought complaints from the Democrats on the ???oint Congressional Atomic Energy Committee. They said that it cost the US an opportunity to bolster its atoms-for-peace policy during the winter, when Soviet Russia scored a psychological victory with its announcement of suspending atomic weapons tests.
Covering 400 acres, the plant cost in the region of GBP40 million. About 1,500 guests, including Government officials, scientists and representatives of foreign countries, attended the ceremony at Shippingport in a tent on the grounds.
In his dedication address, brought to the guests on a large-screen television set, President Eisenhower said.
"This plant, using the power of the atom to supply electricity represents what can be done, not only in America, but throughout the world for the good of mankind, not its destruction."
He said that this project represented the hopes of the Americans that the harassing of the atom will open up a vast new world of development; that atomic power will ease mankind's burdens and provide additional comfort for human living.