Troubled Kabul Power Plant

This is part of IEEE Spectrum's ongoing coverage of Japan's earthquake and nuclear emergency. For more details on how Fukushima Dai-1's nuclear reactors work and what has gone wrong so far, see our explainer.

Spectrum executive editor Glenn Zorpette, who has developed something of a subspecialty with muckraking accounts of poorly conceived electric power projects in poorly chosen war zones, has an op-ed in today's New York Times about the newly built Tarakhil power plant outside Kabul. Zorpette compares the the Afghanistan track record of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), which was responsible for the plant, unfavorably with that of the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers. (In an AID photo [left], the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry, is seen at the plant.)

Zorpette's investigative work in Afghanistan builds on earlier accounts by Pratap Chatterjee, whose work has been published by CorpWatch (which does what it says) and by the Institute of Policy Studies, a left-leaning research institute in Washington, D.C.

Zorpette's earlier investigation of similar power problems in Iraq was honored with a Grand Neal business journalism award and with a National Magazine Award reporting nomination.


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