What is it like to live in a world in which the materials and technology for making nuclear weapons are freely traded? We are in the midst of finding out. Earlier this year, investigators determined that Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan sold some of the technologies he used to build Pakistan's nuclear bomb to several governments that had long sought atomic bombs, including Iran and Libya. Clearly, the threat of the "casual" use of nuclear weapons and of nuclear terrorism has been catapulted from the abstract to the alarmingly concrete.

As Senior News Editor Bill Sweet points out in his disturbing report, "Iran's Nuclear Program Reaches a Critical Juncture," it is apparent from Iran's prevarications in its dealings with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nation's nuclear watchdog group, that its theocratic leadership is determined to acquire nuclear weapons. Ironically, it will almost seem like good news if the IAEA concludes in its forthcoming report on Iran--due out this month--that the highly enriched uranium particles collected by international inspectors in Iran last year originated in shady deals with Pakistan.

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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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