If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Los Alamos

A husband-and-wife team of tourists sees the sights of Cold War weapons projects

2 min read

Sharon Weinberger and her husband, Nathan Hodge, spent two years touring the world’s nuclear weapons sites. What they found calls to mind William Faulkner’s famous remark ”The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Though the ­public debate over nuclear ­weapons is alive, its terms are quaint, having hardly changed since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent illusion of being on a ­”holiday from history.” Neither those who favor the continued ­existence of a nuclear deterrent force nor those who oppose it seem to have bothered to update their arguments.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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