Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the 34th senator to declare that she will vote in favor of the nuclear agreement with Iran. That means that if a motion of disapproval passes the House and Senate, President Obama has declared he will veto it. Overriding a presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress. Thirty-four senators is one more than a third, so a presidential veto cannot be overridden. Now the Democrats will attempt to get seven more senators so that they can filibuster and prevent a motion of disapproval from being voted on. The last day that Congress can consider a motion of disapproval is September 17. Photo from The Hill. Continue readingby
All new technologies go through growing pains, but it seems like Westinghouse could have coordinated better with its pump supplier for its AP-1000 pressurized water reactor. Eight are under construction around the world, and exactly zero coolant pumps are available from the only supplier, Curtiss-Wright. CW hopes to start shipping by the end of the third quarter, but they are still “making some tweaks.” There can be a chicken-and-egg quality to the development of specialized pumps like this: a manufacturer will not develop the pump until there is a need for it, and the reactor manufacturer can’t fully integrate it into the design until it is developed. This kind of joint development can lead to problems later on, particularly when deadlines must be met. Meanwhile, delays on the pumps mean delays on reactor construction, with mounting costs. Not good public relations. Photo of Sanmen AP1000 under construction. Continue readingby
Some of the modules we added to the basic WordPress started fighting with each other. The problem wasn’t immediately obvious, but we think it’s fixed now.
While we were away, War on the Rocks published “How the AP Got the Iran Inspections Story Wrong.” The Associated Press continues to switch URLs around, and what they claim to be the document on inspecting Parchin seems to have disappeared from their site. There have been continuing arguments about this on Twitter, although by the end of last week the volume had gone down. The first couple of paragraphs are below the fold. You’ll have to go over to WotR for the rest. Continue readingby
Today is the 24th anniversary of the attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev. A group of military men who felt Gorbachev was destroying the Soviet Union tried to take charge while he was vacationing. They failed, but Gorbachev’s trajectory after this was all downhill until December 1991, when he declared the Soviet Union dissolved. Photo of Gorbachev returning to Moscow from house arrest in Crimea from here, where you can find more of the history. Continue readingby
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails bring up questions about classification and overclassification. I’m not going to opine on her use of a non-government server or security precautions, just on classification issues in the age of the internet.
Certain types of information must be protected: how to make nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons; diplomacy in progress; troop movements in time of war; identities of spies; operating parameters of spy satellites; and so on. For some of these things, the need to classify is limited in time – photos from obsolete spy satellites are released for research in oceanography and climate, for example. Continue readingby
Recent satellite imagery suggests increased uranium production in North Korea. This article is getting some notice by other news services. This is the source. The two locations in question are on shown on this map. Continue readingby