DailyDirt: Nuclear Batteries Last A Long Time

from the urs-we-dig-up dept

Battery technology is a significant bottleneck for a lot of gadgets, and the limitations of batteries even prevent the widespread adoption of renewable energy solutions. Storing energy efficiently and safely is just a difficult problem. Quite a few energy storage solutions have been proposed, ranging from giant flywheels to burying pressurized air. One far out option that doesn't get much attention is the nuclear battery, so here are just a few links on this obscure technology with a decently long half-life. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
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Filed Under: battery, bismuth, energy, isotope, nanotritium, nuclear, plutonium, power, thermionic generator, tritium, voyager


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2013 @ 8:37pm

    We're running out of plutonium 238!

    We haven't made much since the cold war....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RyanNerd (profile), 27 Sep 2013 @ 4:25am

    1.21 Gigawatts

    Great Scott!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 27 Sep 2013 @ 4:45am

    Currently gadgets are suffering greatly from this issue. My phone lasts 2 days if I don't use the wireless connection and keep the wi-fi off when not using it. I"d surely use such batteries =/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Prostar Computer, 27 Sep 2013 @ 8:09am

    Long Lasting, Short Lived

    I think if it ever happens, the batteries are going to have to work universally with a long line of products. That's the problem with having a battery that could last, say, ten years (and potentially cause great waste hazards if thrown away en masse): the battery might last a decade but we want something new in a year or we break our product within three. If the iPhone 10s takes a nuclear battery the 8s didn't take, that translates to a whole lot of batteries sitting in a drawer or recycling facility powering nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2013 @ 11:22am

    back in the day (30+ years ago) I seemed to recall some work by the US on using Nuclear Batteries for jeeps and tanks. I wonder how far the tech has come.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Urgelt (profile), 6 Oct 2013 @ 2:21pm

    Uh, No. Just... No.

    We do not need radioactive batteries in circulation for consumer goods. God, no.

    For the space program, yeah, sure. We're running out of plutonium-238, there are only a few pounds remaining in NASA's inventory. If we can develop a replacement, hopefully one that's cheaper and safer to produce, then good. We need that.

    But not for anything else. We especially do not need radioactive materials in consumer products. That's dumber than asbestos insulation in homes. Nothing good can come of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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