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.