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Enlist New Nuclear Reactor Tech And FEMA To Project Power Ashore

A rendering of a Crowley/BWXT nuclear "power ship" at work


Almost a hundred years ago, the United States was the first country to use a ship to project electrical power ashore. That ersatz engineering effort helped a U.S. Coastal community survive a crushing drought, and fueled development of an entirely new maritime platform. Today, as small modular nuclear reactors move from prototypes to reality, America stands, once again, on the threshold of a similar maritime power revolution, leveraging mobile sea "power" to help aid communities ashore.

Many out there look to the U.S. Navy to move things along. But the Navy, while it leads the world in employing small nuclear reactors, makes an imperfect partner for today's innovative ship-to-shore power platforms. The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency—a department familiar with managing both nuclear risk and disaster recovery—is a far better choice to refresh America's long-forgotten legacy of projecting power—electrical power—from the sea to shore.

It will take funding and aggressive White House leadership to implement, but a FEMA fleet of nuclear-powered power generation vessels, built to bolster damaged or hurting electrical grids, can solve several pressing national issues.

First, it can push civil development of nuclear power into the maritime. As a civilian, government-managed enterprise, a FEMA-managed disaster-response power-projection fleet can quickly bring new, clean, no-emission modular nuclear power plant designs to point where they are commercially viable.

Second, by moving stewardship of this modern technology from the military sector to the civilian world, a FEMA disaster-response fleet gives the Department of Defense a much-needed civilian partner to help socialize the new technologies at sea. A civilian buffer between the Navy's insular and secretive nuclear navy reduces risk of information loss while enabling wider and deeper public engagement.

A FEMA power-generation fleet helps the military in other ways too. With a civilian assistance fleet, the military can avoid entanglement in unwanted portions the National disaster-response mission set. And yet, the military also gains a partner in helping to stabilize America's strategically important territories and, potentially, some friendly island democracies. With DHS DHS already managing the U.S. Coast Guard, DHS administrators can follow a similar organizational template, aligning the civilian fleet for easy transfer to the Defense Department and preparing the oft-overlooked DHS shipyard in Baltimore for nuclear maintenance work.

America needs this asset. Today, power is a more vital community lifeline than ever. In areas of instability, where disasters and conflict are now supercharged by powerful storms and abrupt climactic shifts, everything from basic economic development to disaster recovery is impossible without reliable and ready access to power.

With several designs for new nuclear-powered electrical generation ships already on offer, a disaster-response fleet of reactor-equipped power generation vessels and barges makes sense. A disaster response fleet is a good way to justify operational evaluation of the various technical options out there.

On a strategic level, the use case is simple. America's island holdings and remote border states are more strategically important than ever. Beset by tropical storms, high energy prices and almost no political power in Washington, these isolated forward territories have struggled to maintain solid electrical generation infrastructure. Mobile power-generation platforms can do a lot to help when island power grids start coming apart.

Put bluntly, power projection ashore is a critical unmet need in America's geopolitical toolbox. America still hasn't learned a lesson from twenty years ago. In 2003, America's inability to quickly reconstitute the grid in Iraq's urban areas was directly attributable to the emergence of civil unrest and resistance. Failure to reconstitute power—be it in hurricane-struck New Orleans, a beleaguered missile-hit Kyiv, or in the streets of Apra, Guam, power generation is the coin of credibility for modern societies and governments.

As aid and assistance, electrical power is one of the most high-yield investments any country can make.

The newly-constructed USS Lexington was one of the first maritime platforms to project electrical ... [+] power ashore

Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images America Has A Legacy Of Projecting Power Ashore After Emergencies:

The Administration may struggle to justify the investment this new, low-emission technology. Efforts to grapple with extreme weather and rapid climate shifts is controversial fare for Congress, but America's century-long record of using power ships and barges to address climate challenges is undeniable. The only problem is that nobody in Washington knows industrial history. America's long and proud record of employing safe, maritime power generation is largely forgotten, and the industry itself is ignored.

America has a strong record of success in afloat power generation. In 1929, after a severe drought cut hydroelectric generation sources in the Pacific Northwest, one of America's first aircraft carriers, the USS Lexington (CV-2), powered the city of Tacoma for a month. For the Tacoma area, that electricity prevented economic disaster. It helped America's national security too, by keeping the lights on at what today is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The world's first power generation barge, the converted merchant ship SS Jacona, was converted in 1930, after a winter storm destroyed major transmission lines in the northeast. After supporting power generation needs in northern New England, it supplied power to Hawaii, South Korea and Okinawa before being sold in 1971.

The world's first floating nuclear power plant, the MH-1A Sturgis (formerly the Liberty-class cargo ship SS Charles H. Cugle), generated power in Panama from 1968 to 1976, helping the Canal Zone weather a drought that limited access to hydroelectric power. With the Suez Canal closed, and the Vietnam conflict raging, the Panama Canal was breaking traffic records and needed the extra electricity to keep the locks operating.

The Navy's legacy fleet of about 14 floating power barges—a grab bag of designs ranging from purpose-built barges to converted tankers, converted cargo ships, or even dry dock sections hosting an array of different types of generators—have faded from memory. Only a few people realize U.S. Power barges were prototype platforms testing all kinds of operational scenarios.

America's power barges and power ships have been used to power everything from tropical islands to Distant Early Warning radars out at Thule, Greenland, near the Arctic Circle. In World War II, alone, seven destroyer escorts were converted to serve as floating power-ships/power barges. Up until the seventies and eighties, America used World War II-era power barges and power ships to power war-hit cities, keep critical ports open, radar sites operational and even to dredge strategic anchorages and fleet concentration areas.

With a high-profile fleet of FEMA power-generation ships, the U.S. Can recover this lost chapter of America's industrial legacy. By gaining operational time and experience with modular reactor designs, the U.S. Government can use a wide-ranging FEMA fleet to refine modern operational and regulatory expectations.

A perfect application for America's romantic pragmatism, this new disaster response fleet can set the groundwork for wider maritime exploitation of clean, safe modular nuclear reactors.

A conventional power barge arrives in Cuba. If America does not act, China, Turkey or some other ... [+] fast-moving country will fill the vacuum.

AFP via Getty Images The Business Case For An American Nuclear "Power Projection" Fleet:

A true "power projection" fleet makes sense, particularly for America's strategically-important forward territories.

In Puerto Rico alone, FEMA, after a series of storms and earthquakes, has obligated more than $9.4 billion to keep the island's battered electrical system operational. At that level of investment, America could have fielded several powerships—platforms that would be available today for activities beyond just supporting Puerto Rico.

Mobile "power-projection" support at sea is needed. Today, the strategic islands of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are America's front-line communities. But they are in typhoon country too. It's simply inappropriate and strategically silly to let these power grids struggle after a disaster or wallow in management challenges. The island grids break often. In 2015, Typhoon Soudelor compromised Saipan's 104-megawatt power grid. In 2018, two super typhoons ripped through Saipan, Tinian and Rota, disrupting power on those islands for months.

Right now, Guam is still trying to recover from a 2015 explosion and fire at their main Cabras power plant. It is simply unacceptable that, today, Guam faces regular rotating blackouts. But the list of power generation problems facing Guam is enormous. Critical base-load combustion turbines require a hot exchange and repair in the Continental United States. The generation facility to replace the broken Cabras generation complex is behind schedule, with typhoon damage pushing that start back almost two years—to the end of 2025. Procurement protests have shaved production from other important generators by 75%. The situation is critical. Right now, Guam has 234 megawatts of generation capacity while Guam's peak demand is in the vicinity of 220 megawatts.

Certainly, conventional floating power plants can provide the same support. But, unlike nuclear power generators, they can't do it alone. Conventional power plants need fuel, and that means added infrastructure, a fuel supply, and potentially more ships to carry fuel oil, diesel, gas, biofuel, or some type of natural gas, or maybe, in the future, methanol, ammonia or hydrogen. For a disaster-hit site, thousands of miles from anywhere, the logistical cost adds up. Fuel surcharges—particularly for remote regions—can boost retail energy prices by 400-500 percent. In an emergency, those costs are even higher.

Floating nuclear power plants make political sense. The Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, is proposing something a lot of us have been urging for a long time—a "new maritime statecraft," integrating the various aspects of America's maritime power into a cohesive, unified whole. It's time for the Administration to put its money where its mouth is.

This call to introduce a new agency into America's wider maritime family, using it as an opportunity to both revitalize America's waterfront as well as to help jump-start America's nascent nuclear industry—while bolstering the islands and towns on the front lines of an increasingly contested maritime—is an easy win. And if we don't move on it, right now, China, where researchers are busy producing engineering papers exploring the technical challenges of restarting dead electrical grids on islands, will.

HBX Group Marks Start Of New Era For Hotelbeds

  • Introduction of group brand is next evolution of TravelTech transformation
  • New Fintech products enhance HBX Group's ecosystem player status
  • PALMA, Spain–(BUSINESS WIRE)–October 18, 2023–

    Hotelbeds has launched its new group brand, HBX Group to lead the B2B TravelTech company into the next phase of its evolution.

    Two years on from its shift to being a leader in the TravelTech space, the company is today establishing itself as a global travel ecosystem player, introducing new product lines to meet the needs of the end consumer as they seek a frictionless end-to-end travel experience.

    "As we continue our transformation as a world-leading TravelTech company, HBX Group simplifies our structure into four distinct brands under our new umbrella," said CEO Nicolas Huss. "We have completely rebuilt our tech stack over the past year to support this shift and better serve our clients and partners by improving our reliability and number of self-service tools to maintain our market position."

    HBX Group will go to market with a collection of best-in-class B2B solutions, each with a clear proposition and market focus that meets the needs of its growing and diverse client base across more than 190 global markets. These are:

  • Hotelbeds, who cater for the specific needs of hoteliers, tour operators, airlines and online travel agents
  • Bedsonline, exclusively serving the retail travel segment bringing together all the travel products they need to complete and serve their travellers' needs
  • Roiback, the HotelTech partner for independent hotels and chains seeking growth through direct channel solutions
  • TravelStack, providing all products, services and solutions to businesses looking to enter into the lucrative travel arena
  • HBX Group will also be vastly simplifying its brand architecture, to provide a much clearer and streamlined experience for all partners. As a result, existing product brands including last minute travel and Carnect, will continue to operate but will eventually be fully integrated into the HBX Group ecosystem. Hotelbeds' long-standing flagship event, the MarketHub, as well as its innovation hub, the TravelTech Lab, will also be endorsed by HBX Group.

    Technology RebuildHBX Group will be underpinned by new technology, which has been re-engineered in just under one year. The new HBX Group transaction platform is an open-source relational database management system emphasising extensibility and SQL compliance, allowing for more effective use of data and unlimited scalability. This complete re-platforming, re-architecture and new cloud based infrastructure enables HBX to have a global, cloud-based modern tech stack on which to build its future ecosystem strategy.

    The technological transformation effectively futureproofs the company, with further functional changes easier to implement and benefits reaped by agents through easier access to more accurate data, reduced downtime and quicker responses.

    The company has refactored all visible channels – including its websites – which are now device agnostic. The changes are driving tangible increase in booking conversion and have been achieved for a capital expenditure of €11 million.

    Ecosystem creationHBX Group is an ecosystem player within the world of travel. By combining the company's four pillars – making up the "X" – technology, data, product and people, HBX Group is better-placed to support its clients and partners by offering the full scope of travel products, including ancillary services, and selling them in one package. It also encompasses the multiplier effect businesses that choose to work with the Group will benefit from.

    "Being an ecosystem player enables us to provide our customers with interconnected products and services, which complement each other and which, when combined and sold seamlessly together, gives our clients what they want, when they want it." adds Nicolas Huss. "It also streamlines the buying process while enabling clients to upsell ancillary products, enhancing their business and providing frictionless travel to the end consumer."

    Supporting the transition into an ecosystem player, Hotelbeds' accommodation, mobility and attractions sales teams have been brought together as part of the new Group infrastructure, enabling them to cross-sell all product lines and streamline client relationships as they will now have one point of contact for all sales activity.

    New fintech solutionsAs part of the evolution to HBX Group, the company will introduce fintech products in 2024, including travel insurance, payment solutions, and multi-currency solutions. These products will be embedded into the company's core business to offer its clients and partners these services across their total business volumes.

    The size of these opportunities is already large and growing. For example the travel insurance sector alone is currently worth €15 billion and is expected to grow to €99bn by 2030, according to research by Spherical Insights & Consulting.

    "As travellers increasingly seek the connected trip experience with all aspects of their travel included in the same ticket, we must ensure we're meeting this need through travel insurance and associated financial products," added Nicolas Huss. "We have offered hotels since our inception in 2001, later adding car hire, transfers and attractions. Financial services are the natural next step in our business development and one our clients have asked us to provide."

    Learn more about HBX Group at hbxgroup.Com.

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    HBX Group Media ContactPR & Media [email protected]

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    Impact Of Technology On Gaining New Skills





    In today's fast-paced world, technology has become an integral part of our lives, influencing almost every aspect, including education and skill acquisition. The advent of the digital age has significantly transformed the way we learn and acquire new skills. In this article, we will explore the profound impact of technology, including the AI Language Tutor, on gaining new skills, emphasizing how it has revolutionized the learning process.

    Technology has bridged the gap between knowledge and accessibility. In today's digital age, gaining new skills is no longer limited to traditional classrooms. Let's dive into how technology has reshaped the learning landscape.

    Access to a World of Knowledge

    The internet has opened doors to a vast repository of information. Anyone with an internet connection can access educational resources, tutorials, and articles on virtually any subject. This accessibility has democratized learning, making it possible for people from diverse backgrounds to acquire new skills.

    E-Learning Platforms

    E-learning platforms have gained immense popularity. Platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udemy offer a wide range of courses taught by experts from around the world. Learners can choose courses tailored to their interests and pace of learning.

    Personalized Learning

    Technology enables personalized learning experiences. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms analyze a learner's progress and tailor content accordingly. This ensures that learners receive content and exercises that match their skill level and learning style.

    Skill Development Apps

    Mobile apps have revolutionized skill development. Whether it's learning a new language, mastering coding, or improving soft skills, there's an app for it. These apps provide interactive and engaging lessons that make learning enjoyable.

    Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

    VR and AR technologies have transformed skill acquisition in fields like healthcare and aviation. Learners can immerse themselves in realistic simulations, allowing them to practice and hone their skills in a safe environment.

    Online Tutorials and Webinars

    YouTube and other platforms offer a plethora of video tutorials and webinars. From DIY projects to professional development, learners can find valuable resources that cater to their interests.

    Gamification of Learning

    Gamification adds an element of fun to learning. Educational games and quizzes make the learning process engaging and motivate learners to achieve their goals.

    Skill Assessment Tools

    Online assessments and quizzes help learners gauge their progress. These tools provide instant feedback, allowing learners to identify areas where they need improvement.

    Collaboration and Networking

    Online forums and communities enable learners to connect with others who share their interests. Collaboration and networking provide opportunities for peer learning and knowledge exchange.

    Remote Work and Skill Acquisition

    The rise of remote work has made continuous skill acquisition essential. Technology allows professionals to upskill or reskill, ensuring they remain competitive in the job market.

    Adaptive Learning Algorithms

    AI-powered adaptive learning systems adjust the difficulty of content based on a learner's performance. This personalized approach maximizes the effectiveness of skill acquisition.

    Challenges and Considerations

    While technology has revolutionized learning, it also presents challenges, such as information overload, distractions, and the need for digital literacy.

    The Future of Skill Acquisition

    As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more innovative approaches to skill acquisition, including virtual mentors, advanced simulations, and seamless integration of AI.


    Technology has fundamentally transformed how we gain new skills, making learning more accessible, personalized, and engaging. Embracing technology in skill acquisition is essential for personal and professional growth.

    Frequently Asked Questions How has technology improved access to education?

    Technology has made education accessible to a global audience through online courses and resources.

    What are some popular e-learning platforms?

    Popular e-learning platforms include Coursera, edX, and Udemy, among others.

    How does personalized learning benefit learners?

    Personalized learning tailors content to individual learners, optimizing their learning experience.

    Are there any challenges associated with technology in education?

    Challenges include information overload, distractions, and the need for digital literacy.

    This post first appeared on Autonomous AI, please read the originial post: here

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