The fourth chapter explores the ways in which radioisotopes were used as political instruments—both by the federal government in world affairs, and by critics of the civilian control of atomic energy—in the early Cold War. Congress established a civilian agency for atomic energy, with support from scientists, with the expectation that peacetime benefits would materialize. But the controversies the AEC faced in the immediate postwar years, particularly whether to ship radioisotopes to foreign scientists, demonstrate the program’s political vulnerabilities. The core of this chapter analyzes these debates, particularly during the first year of the program, during which time no shipments were sent abroad.
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