May 25, 2024

US Approves Small Nuclear Reactors

Screenshot from, Carbon Free Power Project.

Morning Coffee is a robust blend of links to news around the internet concerning the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Morning Coffee logoeconomic community. The opinions expressed here do not reflect opinions of the Leader’s owners or staff.

Amid rising interest in nuclear energy as a tool for reaching ambitious decarbonization goals, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is set to certify NuScale’s small modular nuclear reactor design for use in the US, reports Utility Dive. The NRC announced last week it would issue a final rule certifying NuScale’s small modular nuclear reactor design. This is the first such design to be approved in the US and is expected to go online at an Energy Department laboratory in Idaho in 2029.

Senate lawmakers want to boost the Space Force’s budget by more than $2 billion to support missile warning satellite development, responsive launch capabilities and improved testing, and training infrastructure, reports C4ISRNET. The proposed increase comes as part of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s $792 billion spending package for fiscal 2023, released July 28. The bill calls for a 9% increase to the Department of Defense’s budget over fiscal 2022 spending levels and is $31 billion higher than what House lawmakers approved in June.

Amid pressure from US lawmakers, the White House is weighing a September rollout for its long-delayed National Security Strategy, now being rewritten to emphasize Russia alongside China following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Defense News reports.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Monday said he would vote against Finland’s and Sweden’s bids to join NATO, a move that would go against most of his colleagues from both sides of the aisle, reports The Hill. In an op-ed published by The National Interest, Hawley says the United States shouldn’t expand its security commitments in Europe due to a more pressing threat from China.

USNI reports aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and big deck amphibious ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7), with Marine F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters embarked, are operating in the vicinity of Taiwan, on the edge of the South China Sea ahead of a Western Pacific visit from US House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to the region, according to the August 1 edition of the USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Monday that a potential visit by Pelosi to Taiwan is “not uncommon” and there was no reason for recent threats by the Chinese government, reports The Hill. “We shouldn’t be as a country — we shouldn’t be intimidated by that rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important trip for the speaker to be on, and we’re going to do whatever we can to support her,” Kirby told Brianna Keilar on CNN’s “New Day.”

Semiconductor stocks fell globally on Tuesday as Pelosi’s expected visit to Taiwan further fueled tensions between Washington and Beijing, Reuters reports. China views the visit as encouraging the pro-independence camp in Taiwan and has repeatedly warned against it. Taiwan is home to the world’s biggest manufacturer of semiconductors on contract, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) (2330.TW). Shares of the company closed down 2.4%, while peer United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) (2303.TW) fell 3%.

29th Infantry
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

The 29th Infantry Division gets to keep its Confederacy-themed patch, reports Military Times. As part of an effort to strip commemorative nods to the Confederacy from the military, an independent naming commission has determined that the 29th Infantry Division should keep its unit patch, but that the language used to describe it in the Army’s heraldic listings should get an update, according to a Monday release.

A Coast Guard veteran is being held without bail in an ID theft mystery, reports Military Times, and his wife faces a bond hearing this week. Former US defense contractor Walter Glenn Primrose and his wife, Gwynn Darle Morrison, are charged with fraudulently living for decades under stolen identities of two dead infants. They told family they were going into the witness protection program before abruptly abandoning their house and leaving Texas about 40 years ago.

The first grain ship to leave Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion departed Monday through Odesa’s port, carrying approximately 26,000 metric tons of corn, reports USNI. This is the first ship able to leave Ukraine under a deal between Ukraine and Russia, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations.

We’re about to enter the heart of the Atlantic hurricane season, reports Ars Technia. The season is one-third over and has produced three named storms, Alex, Bonnie, and Colin. Historically, three named storms before the beginning of August would represent a busier-than-usual start to a season that officially lasts six months, from June 1 to November 30. But a simple storm count is a superficial measure of activity. So far, the Atlantic basin is only producing about 30% of its normal activity, according to Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science.

The testing of four unmanned surface vessels at the Rim of the Pacific 2022 exercise helps kick off the Navy’s pursuit of a program-of-record for a large unmanned ship in 2025 and help determine if there’s a need for a medium USV in the future hybrid manned-unmanned fleet, reports Defense News. Among the three dozen or so ships participating in RIMPAC 2022, which runs through August 4, are four without crews: the large-sized Nomad and Ranger Overlord USVs and the medium-sized Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk.

Joe Cunningham has chosen Tally Parham Casey, a civil litigator who flew fighter jets during three combat tours over Iraq, to be his running mate in his quest to become South Carolina’s first Democratic governor in 20 years, reports Casey was South Carolina’s first female fighter pilot, enlisting with the state’s Air National Guard’s 157th Fighter Squadron in 1996 and attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. She has nearly 1,500 hours in the F-16, more than 100 of them in combat, and has received numerous service-related awards.



Senators can’t agree on agency funding levels, reports Government Executive. Republicans deride Democratic priorities in fiscal 2023 bills with just two months until a shutdown, even as Democrats hold back on some increases.

Moscow is leaning toward rejecting a prisoner swap unless it gets two Russians in return for the two Americans the US wants released, reports Stars and Stripes (paywall). The US has called on Russia to free WNBA player Brittney Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan, offering to free convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Israel is working on a system that will enable ground forces to use voice commands for unmanned systems, reports Defense News. The system is about voice dialogue between humans and machines. “It’s called Casper, and we wanted the system to be a member of the team: a hybrid team of human and nonhuman operating and working together,” said an official with the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development.

US Special Operations Command chooses L3Harris’ Sky Warden for its Armed Overwatch effort, reports Defense News. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract will be worth up to $3 billion, L3Harris said in a release Monday. The initial program contract award is for $170 million.

The Missile Defense Agency awarded Northrop Grumman a contract potentially worth more than $3 billion to integrate and manage weapon systems within the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system designed to defend the US from intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea and Iran, reports Defense News.

To hunt enemies from ship to shore in support of amphibious attacks, the Marine Corps’ new Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle will launch highly lethal loitering attack drones to surveil and possibly destroy enemy targets, reports The National Interest.

The Marine Corps wants to develop media literacy training focused on the rank-and-file, reports Marine Corps Times. The phrase “media literacy” appears six times in Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 8 – Information, released in June. Robust training to this end is required, the document’s authors state, both to preserve force resiliency and to deny enemy influence attacks based on disinformation.

The SEC charges 11 people in an alleged $300 million crypto Ponzi scheme, reports CNBC. The scheme, called Forsage, claimed to be a decentralized smart contract platform, and it allowed millions of retail investors to enter into transactions via smart contracts that operated on the ethereum, tron, and binance blockchains. The SEC alleges that for more than two years, the setup functioned like a standard pyramid scheme, in which investors earned profits by recruiting others into the operation. In the SEC’s formal complaint, Wall Street’s top watchdog calls Forsage a “textbook pyramid and Ponzi scheme.”

Mechanical failure led to the March 24, 2021, crash of a T-45 Goshawk trainer aircraft out of NAS Kingsville in Texas, according to an investigation obtained by Navy Times. A “mechanical failure undetectable during normal flight operations, not due to pilot misconduct. No supervisory negligence or malpractice was causal to this mishap.” The student and instructor pilot safely ejected.

Uber Technologies Inc. reported on Tuesday positive quarterly cash flow for the first time ever and forecast third-quarter operating profit above estimates, betting on steady demand for its ride-hailing and food-delivery services, reports Reuters. Uber shares, which have lost more than 40% this year, surged 15% to $28.41 in premarket trading and helped drive an 8% gain in rival Lyft Inc.’s shares.

President Joe Biden says killing the al-Qaida leader is long-sought “justice,” reports AP News. Biden announced Monday that Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul, an operation he said delivered justice and hopefully “one more measure of closure” to families of the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. US intelligence officials tracked al-Zawahri to a home in downtown Kabul where he was hiding out with his family. The president approved the operation last week, and it was carried out Sunday.


Norfolk Dredging Company, Chesapeake, Virginia, was awarded a $17,072,000 firm-fixed-price contract for maintenance dredging of the Jones Inlet Federal Navigation Channel. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Lido Beach, New York, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 15, 2022. Fiscal 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022 civil construction funds in the amount of $17,072,000 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Corps of Engineers, New York, New York, is the contracting activity (W912DS-22-C-0013). 

Lumen Technologies Government Solutions Inc., Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum ceiling amount of $1,500,000,000, for Indo-Pacific Transport Services, to provide end-to-end transmission services and capabilities essential to the Defense Information System Network (DISN) Indo-Pacific, the Department of Defense’s consolidated enterprise level telecommunications infrastructure for the US Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility, to include Alaska. The contract consists of a 10-year performance period; individual orders will be funded by the Defense Working Capital Fund. Proposals were solicited via and three offers were received. The period of performance is Aug. 31, 2022, to Aug 30, 2032. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (HC1019-22-D-0002). (Awarded Aug. 1, 2022)

Huntington-Ingalls Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia, is awarded a $91,643,011 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-2109 for engineering, technical, trade, and program management support of industrial type work for submarine availabilities, facilities, and conversion. Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia (90%); Kings Bay, Georgia (3%), Bremerton, Washington (2%); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (2%); Kittery, Maine (2%); and Groton, Connecticut (1%), and is expected to be completed by September 2024. Fiscal 2022 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $2,907,560 (99.6%); fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $5,000 (0.2%); and Foreign Military Sales (United Kingdom) funds in the amount of $5,000 (0.2%) will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

Schuyler Line Navigation Co. (SLNC), Annapolis, Maryland, is awarded a $10,493,750 option (P00010) for contract N3220519C3504. The option is a firm-fixed-price contract with reimbursable elements to support Military Sealift Command’s Sealift Program for operation and crewing for the transportation and/or prepositioning of cargo by the shallow draft tanker MT SLNC Pax. This option is the third of the current contract. The current contract includes a one-year firm period of the performance; one one-year option period; and one 11-month option period. The cumulative value of this contract, if all options are exercised, is $51,436,350. Work will be performed in the Western Pacific Ocean, and is expected to be completed, if all options are exercised, by June 30, 2024. Fiscal 2022 working capital (Navy) funds in the amount of $10,493,750 for option three are currently available for performance under this contract action. This contract was a small business set-aside with more than 50 companies solicited via the website and three offers were received. The Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

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