The histories of the AEC’s civilian power and Plowshare programs highlight an important issue about American government: how big is it to be and what is its role in the realization of public ends? On the one hand there is the position represented by Milton Shaw’s reactor development policy. Vital public ends cannot be left to private means. The government itself must assume primary responsibility for operationalizing and bringing about such goals. The arguments upon which this position is based have been seen in the fast breeder case to be highly persuasive with the technical history of reactor development underlining the limitations of private firms. As the Commission has tacitly recognized in adopting its breeder policy, constraints upon the financial, technical and administrative resources of even the largest industrial concerns limit their ability to develop complicated new technologies, even when such development is intimately related to their most narrowly defined institutional self-interest. Public programs drawing upon public resources and administered by financially disinterested public servants are essential.