A1 Journal article (refereed)
Fuel for commercial politics : the nucleus of early commercial proliferation of atomic energy in three acts (2022)

Roitto, M., Nevalainen, P., & Kaarkoski, M. (2022). Fuel for commercial politics : the nucleus of early commercial proliferation of atomic energy in three acts. Business History, 64(8), 1510-1553. https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2020.1845316

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsRoitto, Matti; Nevalainen, Pasi; Kaarkoski, Miina

Journal or seriesBusiness History



Publication year2022

Publication date24/11/2020


Issue number8

Pages range1510-1553


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73978


Historical research into the nuclear industry has focussed upon military and commercial aspects of the technology whilst ignoring fuel. This article discusses nuclear fuel, the resource at the centre of the industry and the role superpower politics played in its supply. Starting with the context of superpower competition, we examine the spread of nuclear technology from its beginnings in post-war Britain via West Germany in the 1950s to Finland in the 1960s and 1970s. We demonstrate that each country had varied interests affecting the choice of nuclear fuel for early energy projects; British fuel choices were constrained by its weapons programme and Germany needed legitimacy in the face of opposition in the 1950s. Finland was constrained by ‘Finlandisation’ and despite domestic enthusiasm the country had to balancing competing blocs in its choice of reactor and fuel. In short, fuel choices were constrained by local and supranational geopolitical conditions.

Keywordsnuclear energyenergy policynuclear fuelsnuclear power plantsinvestmentstransfer of technologypower politicsgeopoliticsCold Warpolitical history

Free keywordsnuclear fuel; superpower politics; investments; nuclear power station; technology transfer; Great Britain; West Germany; Finland

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

Preliminary JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:56