Its source material, not exposition. It can be dry and technical and detailed. In his comment above he never said this text would ever show up in the actual novel - its just stuff to keep his own head straight on his final product.
For that matter, the entire idea could end up on the cutting room floor, but that doesn't mean its useful for him to put here to fill out his universe.
I have a stillborn sub with a similar idea behind it - the Karth. One of a fleet of autonomous warships, the lone (cliche) survivor of the class. It has gone off to make a small empire for itself in a far flung corner of humanspace. Might revive it. Go to Comment
I like the visual of this thing hanging in the sky among the stars.
I find it odd that the US would see the need to nuke Canada, as conventional forces would have a pretty easy time of it, and unless the nukes were tiny, they would be obliterating a good portion of their own population. Detroit, New York state, Oregon, etc. Most of our population is within 100 miles of the states and it would seem like using nukes in a civil war. That and I expect by the timeframe in question, a huge amount of the american water supply would come from Canada.
Dustwood is technically not a wood from a specific tree. It is an created fuel for fires.
Starting with the sawdust from a sawmill, adding a mixture of wax or pitch, and a few other things, the mixture is pounded or pressed toghether tightly. It is normally smashed into a round container, so when it is slipped out, it looks like a small perfectly round "log". (actually a lathed log, but you get the idea). It can either be used as a log or slices of a log can be used for a fire.