Surf the Atomic Superhighway!

Through the release of atomic energy, our generation has brought into the world the most revolutionary force since prehistoric man's discovery of fire. This basic force of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalisms. For there is no secret and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world. We scientists recognise our inescapable responsibility to carry to our fellow citizens an understanding of atomic energy and its implication for society. In this lies our only security and our only hope - we believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death.
Albert Einstein
January 22, 1947

The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking that we have done so far, has created problems we cannot solve at the level of thinking at which we created them.
Albert Einstein

We have too many men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount . . . . The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.
General Omar N. Bradley

Chief of Staff,
United States Army Boston, November 10th, 1948


Since scientists first learned how to split the atom, the uses of nuclear technology have multiplied in a continuous chain reaction. Today, those technologies play essential and even life-saving roles in our society. Radiation, for example, is a vital and versatile medical tool used in both the detection and treatment of cancer, as well as more routine procedures, such as X-rays and scans. One-third of the 30 million Americans hospitalized every year undergo medical processes that use radiation. It also is indispensable in medical research as a "tag" or tracer to diagnose disease and to study the effectiveness of new drugs.

Not only does nuclear technology help keep us healthy, it also helps feed us and keeps many parts of the world from going hungry. In the field ofagriculture, farmers and scientists use radioactive materials to grow hardier crops and more nutritious food products, breed disease-resistant livestock, and control insect pests without polluting the soil with chemicals. Today, food irradiation is recognized as one of the most effective weapons in the fight against the dangerous salmonella and E.coli microorganisms. More than 35 nations, including the United States, allow food irradiation to destroy dangerous bacteria and parasites in spices, wheat and flour, pork, fruits, vegetables and chicken.

Canada and more than 30 other countries throughout the world rely on splitting atoms for power generation. Today, the United States gets 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy, second only to coal. In 1996, nuclear energy was responsible for about 17 percent of all the electricity produced in the world.

Nuclear energy also generates the power to propel Navy submarines.

On land, radioactive materials are commonly employed in industrial and manufacturing processes to ensure product quality and safety. The airline industry uses radiation to test aircraft for structural cracks and stress, as well as for baggage scanning systems. It also is used to measure and control the thickness of paper, sheet metal and plastic. Radiation or radioactive isotopes help assure that hundreds of everyday consumer products, ranging from cosmetics to sterilized baby powder, are safe and pure. Household smoke detectors rely on a tiny radioactive source to sound the alarm, and radiation is even used to control the amount of air whipped into ice cream.

Not only has nuclear technology improved the quality of life on this planet, it also has made it possible for us to explore other planets. Twenty-four space probes and satellites have been powered by small radioactive sources for generating electricity to operate instruments, take pictures and transmit data back to Earth.