Nuclear power - in the form of radioisotope power systems (RPSs) - has been used to power many of the most significant space missions during the last 50 years. For almost all the missions to date the radioisotope has been Plutonium 238.
However Plutonium 238 is very expensive and difficult to make and the worldwide availability is so limited that missions using it can only be considered occasionally. There is an alternative, Americium 241. Whilst it is a waste to the nuclear industry, Americium 241 is also a heat producing radioisotope that has similar properties to the Plutonium 238 used in RPSs.
Tim Tinsley currently holds the role of Account Director for Special Nuclear Material at the National Nuclear Laboratory. In addition he manages the NNL’s portfolio of work related to space, including power and propulsion, and radioisotopes.
Please register for this talk via the Institute of Physics website.Event page
- IoP Conferences – Claire.Garland@iop.org, 07881 923 142
- IoP Nuclear Industry Group – Dale.Mcqueen@nda.gov.uk
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