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STOCKPILING SECURITY

As a physicist and engineer with over 36 years’ experience in nuclear weapons laboratories, I found ”What About the Nukes?” [March] well reasoned. At the same time, I have some issues with its conclusions. The ability to design a fundamentally new weapons system without at least a minimal testing program is at best suspect. The answer to this problem as promulgated by one of the creators of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, Victor H. Reis, is to rely on simulation. I was one of the initial laboratory directors of the stockpile stewardship simulation program, the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative, and I take great pride in its accomplishments. Nonetheless, I am skeptical that the simulation agenda is sufficiently mature to be relied on as a full alternative to testing. We are better off maintaining designs that we know work than we are fielding untested ones. However, I would argue against halting new developments. The book on nuclear weapons design is far from closed. For that reason alone, the United States would be well advised to maintain a vibrant nuclear weapons research, design, and development program.

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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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