The state of New York was required by federal law to have a nuclear waste dump by January 1, 1993. In 1988, a special siting committee formed to determine where to put the dump. The siting commission considered five sites in rural Allegany County, New York, as potential spots to put the nuclear dump. The people of Allegany County linked arms in several acts of civil disobedience to prevent the construction of a nuclear waste facility in their backyard.
In 1954, Congress approved the Atomic Energy Act in an attempt to jumpstart nuclear energy in the United States. The Atomic Energy Commission was charged with creating a positive image of the peaceful applications of nuclear power as well as with regulating safety measures.