The Iran talks continue past the July 7 deadline. That means that the US Congress will get two months to demagogue over any agreement. It appeared that Iran was trying to use the pressure of the deadline to get additional concessions on sanctions against weapons sales. Thanks, Congress! Much of the commentary is duplicative and predictable. The Twitter streams from reporters at the Palais Coburg were getting punchy, although things have settled down today. A couple of articles worth reading.
The technology that the IAEA uses to monitor Iranian (and other) facilities. I had an argument with someone on Twitter who is against a deal. It turned out he didn’t even know that IAEA has video monitors in Iranian facilities now. Photo from here.
Excellent checklist on lessons from previous arms control agreements from Graham Allison. Short version: good enough is a good deal.
What’s Russia doing? I’ve pointed out that Russia can’t afford all the promises it’s making on nuclear plants. That was in February. The Russian economy hasn’t gotten better since then. Atomproekt, the reactor design agency, is feeling the pinch. Lilya Shevtsova says it’s having a hard time affording the military it would like to have. When you read about Russia’s missiles or military or nuclear plants or anything else, look at the article to see if they exist or if they are planned. Russia has always talked big about its plans, but those plans often don’t come to fruition.
Greg Thielmann suggests what we can do about Russia’s nuclear bluster. It’s another view of the kinds of things I wrote about here.
The New Horizons spacecraft now nearing Pluto is powered by a plutonium-238 radioisotope generator. At that distance, the sun isn’t much larger than any other star. Plutonium was named for Pluto.
Robert Galucci is concerned about all the plutonium piling up in China and Japan. He points out that it could be fuel for a new generation of reactors.
A report by Aerospace has some big errors in it. That report said that using the 34 tons of weapons plutonium we’ve agreed with the Russians we will dispose of in reactors is too expensive. Does Aerospace have a dog in that fight? One of the problems of contracting out too much work that the government might better do.