Electricity drawn from Americium, which could prove useful as a power source for a 'space battery'
CUMBRIA, United Kingdom - Americium is an element not found in nature, but which is produced by the radioactive decay of plutonium - which itself is produced during the operation of nuclear reactors. A team led by NNL has extracted americium from some of the UK's plutonium stocks, and used the heat generated from this highly radioactive material to generate electric current, which in turn lit up a small light bulb - all within a specially shielded area of NNL's Central Laboratory in Cumbria, England, reports World Nuclear News.
The Intelligent Aerospace take:
May 3, 2019-The UK National Nuclear Labratory and the University of Leicester have generated usable electricty from Americium, an element created through the radioactive decay of plutonium. Using the heat emitted from the element, an electric current was generated which lit up a light bulb. Americium could prove useful in the creation of "space batteries" to power sensors and transmitters in deep space or on the surface of planets where solar panels could not generate the power needed to keep operations or transmissions going.
"This remarkable breakthrough sounds like something from a science fiction film but it is another brilliant testament to our world leading scientific and university communities and their commitment to keeping the UK at the very frontier of developments in space technology and research for energy requirements in difficult environments," remarked British Science Minister and Member of Parliament Chris Skidmore. "It is on the foundations of such discoveries that we can create the highly skilled jobs of the future, supported through our modern Industrial Strategy and record level of government investment in R&D."
Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
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