42 U.S. Code § 9701 - Congressional findings and declaration of policy
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(a) The Congress finds that—
(1) nuclear energy is one of the two major energy sources available for electric energy production in the United States during the balance of the twentieth century;
(2) continued development of nuclear power is dependent upon maintaining an extremely high level of safety in the operation of nuclear plants, and on public recognition that these facilities do not constitute a significant threat to human health or safety;
(3) it is the responsibility of utilities, as owners and operators of nuclear powerplants, to assure that such plants are designed and operated safely and reliably; and
(4) a proper role of the Federal Government in assuring nuclear powerplant safety, in addition to its regulatory function, is the conduct of a research, development, and demonstration program to provide important scientific and technical information which can contribute to sound design and safe operation of these plants.
(b) It is declared to be the policy of the United States and the purpose of this chapter to establish a research, development, and demonstration program for developing practical improvements in the generic safety of nuclear powerplants during the next five years, beginning in the fiscal year 1981. The objectives of such program shall be—
(2) to reduce the likelihood of disrupting the population in the vicinity of nuclear powerplants as the result of nuclear powerplant accidents.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as preventing the Secretary from undertaking projects or activities, in addition to those specified in this chapter, which appropriately further the purpose and objectives set forth in this subsection. Nothing in this chapter shall authorize the Secretary to assume responsibility for the management, cleanup or repair of any commercial nuclear powerplant. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as limiting the authority of the Secretary under any other law.