Atomic Industrial Forum

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The Atomic Industrial Forum (AIF) was an American industrial policy organization for the commercial development of nuclear energy.

Its history dates to Autumn 1952, when it was being first organized:

I would propose that those industrial concerns, institutions and individuals that are today actively engaged in atomic energy research, development and operations form — voluntarily and without governmental urging or subsidy — a national association of atomic industries.
-- T. Keith Glennan, President of the Case Institute of Technology and founding member, AIF Board of Directors, November 1952

In response, some 30 industrialists, engineers, and educators met in January 1953 to establish the forum. The AIF was formally incorporated on April 10, 1953 in New York, and marked the beginning of the commercial nuclear power industry in the United StatesThe first Executive Director of AIF was Charles Robbins.

As a non profit trade association the AIF advocated the peaceful uses of atomic energy and increasing the role of the private sector in its development. Its first order of business was to advocate revising the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 to allow and foster the commercial ownership of non weapons nuclear facilities, such as production of radioactive isotopes and nuclear power plants. AIF established strong working relationships with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. AIF's efforts helped to achieve the passage of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 which resulted in the growth of a commercial nuclear industry. AIF was organized on the basis of an executive committee, the annual election of officers and a permanent operations staff, headed by an Executive Director, Mr. Charles Robbins.

In 1963 AIF established an international public information program. Working with other forums around the world, the program sought, through publications, workshops, exhibitions, speeches and outreach, to foster and acieve better understanding of the peaceful uses of atomic energy. Its first program director was Charles B. Yulish.

The government and private sector involvement in atomic energy grew steadily, and with it, strong debates on its safeguards and regulation. The Atomic Energy Commission, which both promoted, developed and regulated nuclear development, was split into two agencies—the Energy Research and Development Agency and the independent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Administration.

As the new challenges evolved, leaders in the nuclear industry determined that new entities were required to address challenges and opportunities. As a result of these actions other representation entities were created.

In 1987 the AIF ceased to exist as its function was split among two smaller organizations: the Nuclear Utility Management and Resources Council (NUMARC), which addressed generic regulatory and technical issues, and the U.S. Council for Energy Awareness (USCEA), originally founded in 1979. These two organizations remerged in 1994 as the Nuclear Energy Institute, along with the American Nuclear Energy Council (ANEC), which conducted government affairs, and the nuclear division of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which handled issues involving nuclear fuel supply and management, and the economics of nuclear energy. In 2011, the leading organization of the nuclear industry is the Nuclear Energy Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC.

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