Its history dates to Autumn 1952, when it was being first organized:
In response, some 30 industrialists, engineers, and educators met in January 1953 to establish the forum. The AIF was formally incorporated on April 10, 1953 in New York, and marked the beginning of the commercial nuclear power industry in the United States.
Its first order of business was to advocate revising the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 to allow commercial ownership of nuclear facilities. This goal was achieved with passage of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
In 1987 the AIF ceased to exist as its function was split among two smaller organizations: the the Nuclear Utility Management and Resources Council (NUMARC), which addressed generic regulatory and technical issues, and the U.S. Council for Energy Awareness (USCEA), originally founded in 1979. These two organizations remerged in 1994 as the Nuclear Energy Institute, along with the American Nuclear Energy Council (ANEC), which conducted government affairs, and the nuclear division of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which handled issues involving nuclear fuel supply and management, and the economics of nuclear energy.