President Carter will name today the five members of his Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee, the only nuclear-related body that will report directly to him.
The men he has chosen are under attack already from critics of nuclear power, while pro-nuclear groups are privately delighted with most of the lineup.
Chairing the panel, which will keep Carter informed on industry and government efforts toward improving nuclear power plant safety, will be Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbit, 42, who was a member of Carter's investigating commission on last year's accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.
Another commission member, Patrick E. Haggerty, director of Texas Instruments Inc., will also be named to the new panel. The other members are John Deutch, who left his job as undersecretary of the Department of Energy yesterday to return to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemistry department; Marvin L. Goldberger, former chairman of the Federation of American Scientists; and Harold W. Lewis, physics professor at the university of California at Santa Barbara.
"This is basically a pro-nuclear group and we're very unhappy with it," said Richard Pollock, head of Ralph Nader's Critical Mass Energy Project organization. "It's almost as though Carter decided to snub all the nuclear critics."
He said Babbitt, who was an outspoken member of Carter's so-called Kemeny Commission on Three Mile Island, was "the most conscientious" of the group but could not be called a nuclear-power critic. The others, he charged, hold "only a narrow range of views" and will give Carter a biased outlook on nuclear safety.
John Conway of the American Nuclear Energy Council, a pro-nuclear lobbying organization, disagreed. He said the five were "experienced, responsible people" who "will be objective and do a good job."
Other industry sources were gleeful. "It means Carter has figured out who's right on this issue," said one.
Deutch, 41, who gained a reputation as strongly pro-nuclear during his three years at DOE, figured heavily in the selection process, according to White House sources. A move to name him chairman of the panel was rejected by administration officials who thought Babbitt would be more acceptable to nuclear critics.
Goldberger, 58, a Princeton University professor of physics, gained reknown in 1971 when the Federation of American Scientists charged that Defense Departments chiefs were exaggerating the Soviets threat. He is regarded as a technical expert and was named to help give the panel credibility among scientists, the White House sources said.
Haggerty, 56, an electronics engineer who founded phenomenally successful Texas Instruments in Dallas, became identified with the strong pro-nuclear faction on the Kennedy Commission from its earliest debates. Babbitt, however, voted in favor of unsuccessful moves to recommend a moratorium on new nuclear plants and was among the more vocal critics of Nuclear Regulatory Commission operations.
Lewis, 57, noted for lucid writing on highly technical physics issues, wrote the analysis last year of Dr. Norman Rasmussen's Reactor Safety Study that was influential in leading the NRC to repudiate portions of that study. Lewis is currently a member of the NRC's Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, which provides technical analyses for NRC consideration.