By Joseph G. Morone;Edward J. Woodhouse
Chernobyl, Bhopal, and Love Canal are symbols of the possibly catastrophic hazards that pass hand in hand with a lot smooth know-how. This quantity is a non-partisan learn of the imperfect yet progressively constructing method for holding the dangers of such applied sciences as chemical compounds, nuclear strength, and genetic engineering.
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Additional info for Averting Catastrophe: Strategies for Regulating Risky Technologies
3] The first test of this safety plan occurred in 1946–47 and involved a reactor designed to test materials used in more advanced reactors. The materials testing reactor was relatively large for its day, although it is about one-tenth the size of current reactors. The AEC originally planned to construct this reactor at Argonne National Laboratory just outside Chicago, where it would be accessible to scientists at the lab. However, the Reactor Safeguards Committee ruled that the reactor was too large to be built so close to a city.
Coli K-12, a laboratory strain of a common, well-studied colon bacterium (Escherichia coli ). The NIH also limited potential hazards by prohibiting particularly risky experiments. Originally, six classes of experiments were banned: (1) experiments with more than ten liters of culture; (2) experiments in which organisms containing rDNA were deliberately released into the environment (such as the one delayed by Judge Sirica in 1984); (3) experiments using DNA from certain pathogens; (4) experiments using DNA segments that code for vertebrate toxins; (5) experiments using rDNA techniques to create certain plant pathogens; and (6) experiments in which drug resistance traits were transferred to disease-causing organisms.
But the attention directed at biotechnological risks during the mid-1980s was mild compared to the alarm these risks caused a decade earlier. At that time genetic engineering seemed headed for the same regulatory fate as nuclear power. In the mid-1970s the risks associated with splicing genes from one organism into another through recombinant DNA (rDNA) techniques were causing widespread concern in the scientific community.  Interest groups led by dissident scientists gained widespread visibility, media coverage became increasingly sensational, and local controversies raged in towns where universities proposed conducting rDNA research.