Reversibility and Nuclear Energy Production Technologies: A Framework and Three Cases

Jan Peter Bergen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: Recent events have put the acceptability of the risks of nuclear energy production technologies (NEPT) under the spotlight. A focus on risks, however, could lead to the neglect of other aspects of NEPT, such as their irreversibility. I argue that awareness of the socio-historical development of NEPT is helpful for understanding their irreversibility. To this end, I conceptualize NEPT development as a process of structuration in which material, institutional and discursive elements are produced and/or reproduced by purposive social actors. This conceptualization is used to structure an analysis of how irreversibility arose in the first decades of NEPT development in India, France and the USA, and how some NEPT have been reversed or partially reversed. Lastly, two general conditions for reversible NEPT are formulated based on this analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-59
Number of pages23
JournalEthics, Policy and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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