Keywords: irreversibility reduction, nuclear technology, technical modularity, nuclear investment, nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear irreversibilities, economic implications, environmental implications, technological change, technological irreversibilities, technological lock-in, nuclear modularity, investment justification
Irreversibilities and technological change: modularity as a new challenge for nuclear investments?
Deregulation and care about global warming combined with the growing scarcity of fossil resources and the increasing world energy demand renew the interest for nuclear energy. Nuclear energy has great advantages but is the source of multiple and self-reinforced irreversibilities. Especially, nuclear investments are subject to a technological lock-in, which impedes the adoption of potentially more efficient and cleaner innovations. In this paper, we present a new industrial option likely to reduce nuclear irreversibilities: modularity of nuclear investments. We analyse the technological, economic and environmental implications and the limits of such investments.