Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Publications User Guide

AEC User Guide


The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was established by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (60 Stat. 755) as amended. It was abolished by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (88 Stat. 1237) and its functions were transferred to the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Therefore the AEC issued publications from 1946 through 1974. Many of the publication series continued under the NRC and ERDA, and later the Department of Energy. The publication history is complicated, and changed many times, so the following summary will help but cannot be an exact guide to every publication.


The AEC issued a very large number of research and development reports, many from academic and research contractors. Some originally had security classification, and were later unclassified. Some documents from the AEC were included in the Government Printing Office’s (GPO) Federal Depository Library program, falling in Superintendent of Documents classifications beginning with Y 3.At 7:. However, most did not meet the requirements for GPO depository distribution. The AEC maintained its own depository program and also distributed or sold publications directly from Oak Ridge, through GPO, through the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) and its predecessors, and through private vendors. The Government Publications Library (GPL) was an AEC depository library, as well as being a Federal Depository Library.


AEC distributed reports in paper through June 1965, then changed to microcards and later microfiche. In 1969, the AEC’s private contractor began charging a subscription fee for the reports, and the University Libraries declined to pay. The University was an AEC depository only through 1969.


The consolidates the contents of OSTI's Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database and includes AEC reports originally indexed in the following publications. AEC’s research reports were indexed in the AEC publication Nuclear Science Abstracts (Y 3.At 7:16/), published from 1948 through 1976 (volumes 1-33). It was published by ERDA from 1975-76 under the SuDoc number ER 1.10:, but we shelve the entire set together as Y 3. This index was preceded, in 1947-48, by Abstracts of Declassified Documents (Y 3.At 7:11/) also shelved in in the same spot. The reports were also indexed in the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications published by the GPO, even though only a small portion were in GPO’s depository program. In the Monthly Catalog (GP 3.6:) GPO depository status is indicated by a black dot in the entry.


In the Monthly Catalog, AEC reports were first given the SuDoc numbers Y 3.At 7.22:8/ (Declassified Documents) and Y 3.At 7:22/ (Unclassified Documents). The first entries found are in the August 1947 issue. Starting with May 1956, all were classed together as Y 3.At 7:22/ (AEC Research Reports). In GPL, we have moved the declassified documents into Y 3.At 7:22/ so that all AEC technical reports are filed together. The remainder of the number is the technical report number as printed in the document and indexes (letters-numbers).


The collection of AEC documents in paper (dates to about June 1965) is stored together. All documents are interfiled, regardless of how they were received (GPO or AEC). The call number is Y 3.At 7:22/ (report number).


The microcard and microfiche collections (issued after June 1965, maybe some earlier, through 1969) are in microfiche cabinets in the Government Publications area in the basement of Wilson Library. They are also filed by report number.


The library does not have a complete shelflist of this collection. To determine if a document was distributed through the AEC depository collection, check the Cumulated Report Number Indexes of Nuclear Science Abstracts (Y 3.At 7:16-2), and look for the indication “dep.”  Publications from about 1947 to 1965 will be in paper. After that, some will be in paper and some in microcard or fiche. If the citation says “dep” it is likely the document was received. If the document was available from GPO the index will indicate “GPO” and we also should have those.


If a document was distributed through the GPO depository program, that will be indicated by a black dot in the Monthly Catalog. Documents distributed through GPO will be in paper. The Cumulated Report Number Indexes also show if a document was available from NTIS. If so, it should still be available to purchase from NTIS.

Information You Need to Get AEC Publications

Use the following indexes to:

  1. obtain the report number, if it is not known, and
  2. check the depository status of the document

Print Indexes: Nuclear Science Abstracts and related titles, shelved in the Government Publications area in the basement of Wilson Library (Y 3.At 7:16)

  • Indexes by subject, corporate and personal author lead to abstracts
  • Abstracts are quite detailed
  • Be sure to note report number (a combination of letters and numbers)
  • Cumulative Report Number Index (Y 3.At 7:16-2) must be used to find the depository status of each report; those marked either Dep or GPO under Availability should be in our collection

Free database includes AEC records with later energy materials Look for these important fields:

  • Report number(s) - write these down
  • Availability - those marked Dep or GPO should be in our collection, but this information may not be complete in the online version
  • Publication date - AEC documents after 1969 probably not here
Last Updated: Aug 17, 2021 9:58 AM