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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Gore joins the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy

In addition to the TVA, the federal government had erected Oak Ridge, a major nuclear facility, in Tennessee. Gore joined the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and became a co-author of the first nuclear power bill which led to an interest in the global arms race and the development of the space program.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Another of your committees, a committee on which you served for sixteen or seventeen years, was the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, which you first served on I believe in 1954. What about your service on that committee?
ALBERT GORE:
I said earlier in this interview that as chairman of the Independent Offices Subcommittee (at least as chairman of a subcommittee that handled TVA, and I think this was a subgroup of the Independent Offices group) I handled appropriation bills for the TVA and for the Atomic Energy Commission. As a result of that I had become as intimately acquainted with nuclear energy problems as a layman could become. So after election to the Senate it was but natural, I think, that I would wish to be assigned to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, furthering my interest and my opportunity both to serve and to benefit politically because of Oak Ridge being located in Tennessee. So I found my work there very intense. I was a strong champion of nuclear energy, nuclear power. I was a co-author of the first nuclear power bill; it was called the Gore-Holifield bill. Congressman Chet Holifield of California, who was then chairman of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee, introduced the bill in the House, and I introduced it in the Senate. And I succeeded in passing it in the Senate. So my role in legislation in advocacy of nuclear energy and the development of nuclear power, the development of nuclear submarines and of nuclear carriers was an interesting experience, an engrossing experience. I was enthusiastically involved in it, and I think (without being a braggadocio) that I was influential in numbers of developments in this field, including later being a delegate to the disarmament conference and a delegate to the United Nations. I negotiated as delegate to the United Nations the agreement on outer space between the Soviet Union and the United States. This was later on, but I think it followed in the wake of my service on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.