View Full Version : US to begin Pu238 Production?

2005-Sep-02, 05:45 PM
Here's a CNN article:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/09/02/s...reut/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/09/02/space.plutonium.reut/index.html)

which says that the US is looking at making 5Kg/yr of Pu238 for the purpose of supplying energy to spacecraft. Half would go to NASA, the other half for undisclosed defense projects. This is the stuff used to power Cassini and other deep space probes. It has a 88 year half-life and alpha-decay. This generates heat, which is converted to electricity (currently by a massive array of thermocouples).

Note by me:

It would be much cheaper, and produce much less hazardous waste, AND create more power per kilogram of material if they used Gd-148. I guess they have all this Plutonium stockpiled, they have to justify it somehow.

2005-Sep-02, 07:59 PM
5 kg per year? You call that "production"?!