Some history of the nuclear power plants in the Tennessee Valley Authority. Graphic of the first Browns Ferry plant.

The national laboratories have always supported arms control negotiations and other foreign-policy activities with their technical expertise. They don’t always get credit, though, as they do here. Can’t figure out why Sanger and Broad think that everyone at the national labs has been locked inside, working on weapons for the last sixty years or so.

Paper reactors are much easier to build than real reactors. Similarly, computer components are much easier to build than energy-generating components. So Moore’s Law can’t apply to energy development. The response is weak and the same sort of thinking that gives us paper reactors.

Syria agrees to return “a small amount” of highly enriched uranium to China. Which is a good thing. The article could be improved by saying what that amount is. Also, this “HEU, despite its name, loses its radioactive properties very quickly and thus is particularly attractive to terrorists seeking to make an explosive device” doesn’t make sense. It isn’t highly radioactive at all, which is not the same thing as highly enriched, and therefore is easier to handle, which I suspect is what was intended.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman of Chechnya, has told his military to shoot Russian federal officers on Chechen territory who are there without permission. This is a bit like the governor of Texas telling the state police to shoot FBI agents who are there without permission. The full story of Kadyrov’s relationship to the Kremlin and possibly to the murder of Boris Nemtsov remains murky. Here’s a short video thinkpiece. At the extreme, some are wondering whether President Vladimir Putin is planning to start another war in Chechnya to distract from Ukraine. Or perhaps to put Kadyrov in his place.

The never-ending task of getting inside Putin’s head. Mark Galeotti criticizes the view that Putin has been planning for a kleptocracy all along, but I’m not sure he is exactly what Galeotti sees, either. Galeotti is always worth reading.

Iran has conceded a great deal in the negotiations. Here’s a summary.

Iran’s statements about its interactions with the IAEA are unreliable. This one may be in preparation for upcoming meetings with the IAEA or the now-resumed negotiations toward a comprehensive agreement by the end of June. It mentions opening Parchin for an IAEA visit with the stipulation that this be the last visit, which has never been acceptable to the IAEA, and claims that other issues have been settled. Offering any visit at all, however, is conciliatory relative to recent statements that no visits will be allowed to military bases. To be continued.



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