Alternate Power Sources Session. Nuclear Battery Hybrid Configuration Study
ARMY ELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY AND DEVICESLAB FORT MONMOUTH NJ
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Power source requirements for worldwide military applications include a need for low level power milliwatts average power under conditions for unattended, extended periods of time. The energy content needed in such applications and the requirement for continuous, troublefree operation led to the investigation of the military potential of radioisotope thermoelectric power sources, with specific interest in a hybrid configuration using a sealed nickel- cadmium battery. By using the nuclear particle emission energy of radioactive decay, nuclear battery devices have the highest stored energy density of any other power source. However, the power output is low being related to the emission half-life of the isotope. Attainment of inherently good device power regulation requires a relatively long life isotope. Plutonium-238 Pu-238, an 86-year half-life alpha short range emitter, has become available in practical quantities. It offers a very low emission hazard and, when properly encapsulated in a sintered oxide fuel form, it provides an almost ideal isotopic heat source which is safe to use under all anticipated extremes of heat and shock.
- Electric Power Production and Distribution
- Electrochemical Energy Storage