History of the technical evolution of pressurized water nuclear reactors

  • Pablo Fernández Arias
    Universidad de Salamanca pablofernarias[at]usal.es
  • Ana Cuevas
    Universidad Católica de Ávila
  • Diego Vergara
    Universidad Católica de Ávila


The complex technical system forming a nuclear reactor is an interesting case from the perspective of Studies Science, Technology and Society. Among the different variants that were designed along the history, the most implemented variant has been the pressurized water reactor (pwr). To undertake the study of its technical evolution, an evolutionary perspective approach is developed within the History and Sociology of Technology: (i) the technological determinism, to study the autonomous evolution of technology in its development stage (in the fifties); (ii) the social constructivism, to study the later stage of social influence (in the seventies); and (iii) the systems approach, in a stage of transition between the two previous stages, to analyze political and economic factors, as well as to open the black box of pwr design.
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Fernández Arias, P., Cuevas, A., & Vergara, D. (2016). History of the technical evolution of pressurized water nuclear reactors. ArtefaCToS. Revista De Estudios Sobre La Ciencia Y La tecnología, 6, 109–138. Retrieved from https://revistas.usal.es/cinco/index.php/artefactos/article/view/15589


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