In a December 8, 1953, speech to the United Nations, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced a new Atoms for Peace policy, and the United States Congress enacted his program into law the following year. Atoms for Peace "made funding accessible to anyone who had the imagination, if not the ability, to harness the atom's power for peaceful purposes". Under the new program, the airplane manufacturer Curtiss-Wright Corporation sought a large isolated area in central Pennsylvania "for the development of nuclear-powered jet engines and to conduct research in nucleonics, metallurgy, ultrasonics, electronics, chemicals and plastics". Curtiss-Wright worked closely with the state and, in June 1955, George M. Leader, the Governor of Pennsylvania, signed legislation that authorized the construction of a research facility at Quehanna. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania sold Curtiss-Wright 8,597 acres for $181,250 ($22.50 an acre), and gave the company a 99-year lease on the remaining 42,596 acres at $30,000 a year. Curtiss-Wright controlled 51,193 acres (80.0 sq mi) in a regular 16-sided polygon, which was easier to fence than a circular area.
By Parabellum @ 2011-06-23 14:25:56