Two South Carolina utilities are abandoning two unfinished nuclear reactors, half of the new reactors being built in the United States today. A decision on the other two will be made later this month. The South Carolina project is far behind schedule and far over projected costs, the recurring story of civilian nuclear reactor projects in the United States. China and Russia seem to be doing better with reactor-building, but their state-run companies can cook the books in ways that private companies can’t. Read More
I am continuing to go light on the latest about Donald Trump’s relationship to Russia, in the service of finishing up a major post on the subject. In the meanwhile, here is a selection beyond the New York Times and Washington Post headlines.
Fidel Castro, who ruled through eleven American presidencies, is dead. The Miami Herald has the definitive (long) obituary. I think it’s a fair assessment; I recall Castro depicted in the United States as a freedom fighter against the landed overlords, and then his turn to Communism and the Soviet Union. As the obit says, we’ll never know if he was a communist all along. All that is vivid to me because my high school hosted a talk on Castro’s 1956 victory, one of my first understandings of international events. Read More
Attention Donald Trump: Strategic reasons for publicizing military offensives.
Estonia trains citizens for insurgency operations in case Russia decides to invade. The tactics recall those of the Forest Brothers who resisted both the Nazis and the Soviets. Photo from this article; I love seeing Estonia’s forests and countryside, hate seeing the idea of war there. Read More
Denmark has picked up 500 tons of Libyan chemical warfare materials, apparently mostly precursors, and is transporting them to Germany for destruction. (Top photo from here) Read More
Today is Earth Day. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher than ever. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is bleaching because of warmer ocean temperatures. We really have to do something. And it’s hard to see how we can succeed without nuclear power as part of the replacement for coal. But not everyone agrees. Read More
Eleven and a half million documents stolen from the law firm Mossack Fonseca and put on line. Two early stories based on the documents are here and here. There will be more to come. Mossack Fonseca specializes in helping people to hide large amounts of money through offshore shell companies and other means. Here’s an FAQ. The president of Iceland has resigned over the exposure of his company. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin figure in the revelations. Photo: Panama City, where Mossack Fonseca is located. Read More
More analysis of Russia’s drawdown in Syria from Paul Pillar, Dmitry Gorenberg and Michael Kofman, Samuel Greene, and Pavel Baev. Also Mark Galeotti on Russian Spetznaz (special forces) in Syria. Samuel Greene’s piece is particularly worth reading in terms of strategy. World leaders seldom act out of petty spite or revenge. Read More
Everything you need to know about gravitational waves. Supposedly a bit announcement coming on Thursday. Graphic from here: gravity waves from two black holes orbiting around each other. Read More