As I was considering the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula, I was reminded about another phase in my life when I worked at GE Power Generation in Schenectady, NY after graduating from college.
It was a short lived phase due to the slowing economy of the early 1990’s, the industry trend away from steam toward gas turbines and my utterly directionless early adulthood.
At that time, the largest project being handled by PowerGen was the supply of massive steam turbines for use by KEPCO, the Korea Electrical Power Corporation. As I recall, PowerGen was supplying multiple units across several projects in South Korea during that time.
We in the Communications and Distribution arm were working on editing, coordinating and assembling the massive, multi-volume operations manuals required to safely and efficiently run these units. Then the layoffs came.
I drifted away from technical writing altogether. A story for another time perhaps, but which brings us to today and the term countervalue (my introduction to this term is proof there is educational opportunity on Twitter if you are careful with your Follows.)
Countervalue, for civilians like myself, is the targeting of non-military assets (which do not pose a direct military risk) during the course of war. Countervalue speaks to the steam turbines GE PowerGen supplied back in the 90’s and which I participated in an exceedingly small, tangential fashion because these units are now likely targets of North Korea (DPRK.)
Targets since they represent electrical generation capacity of the DPRK’s enemy which would be important to disrupt during the course of any war, but also because many of these steam turbines were used in conjunction with nuclear reactors, thus exponentially increasing their destructive and disruptive ability.
According to their website, KEPCO indicates that they are currently operating 25 reactor units in South Korea. Targeting these facilities with traditional weapons is within the demonstrated capabilities of the DPRK.
Simply stated, the DPRK does not need to launch nuclear weapons to initiate a nuclear war. Well targeted standard missiles will suffice.
It is one strange life to think that the work of twenty something Steven Kramer sits on the shelf of a DPRK target waiting…
Peace my babies.