In the nuclear sector, turnkey projects can be considered an investment in obtaining information through “learning by doing” to capture rents from the next generation of reactors. As the first U.S. turnkey export project, the first Spanish nuclear power plant served that purpose and paved the way for the subsequent growth of the nuclear sector, for both Spanish and U.S. firms. Making use of archival material, we analyze the networks created by the government, experts, and business leaders, which sought to obtain, accumulate, and learn from the scarce and conflicting information about atomic technology that was available at the time. We also discern how firms on both sides of the Atlantic acquired and perfected the specific capabilities required to build a commercial nuclear reactor.
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