Title: PROGRESS ON 241Am PRODUCTION FOR USE IN RADIOISOTOPE POWER SYSTEMS
Authors: BAKER S.r.BELL K.j.BROWN J.CARRIGAN CCARROTT MichaelGREGSON CCLOUGH MMAHER C.j.MASON CRHODES C.j.RICE T.g.SARSFIELD MarkSTEPHENSON KTAYLOR R.j.TINSLEY T.p.WOODHEAD D.aWISS Thierry
Citation: SP-719 - 10TH EUROPEAN SPACE POWER CONFERENCE CD-ROM PROCEEDINGS
Publisher: European Space Agency
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC91170
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC91170
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Electrical power sources used in outer planet missions are a key enabling technology for data acquisition and communications. Power sources generate electricity from the thermal energy from alpha decay of the radioisotope 238Pu via thermo-electric conversion. Production of 238Pu requires specialist facilities including a nuclear reactor and reprocessing plants that are expensive to build and operate, so naturally, a more economical alternative is attractive to the industry. Within Europe 241Am is a feasible alternative to 238Pu that can provide a heat source for radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) and radioisotope heating units (RHUs). As a daughter product of 241Pu decay, 241Am is present at 1000s kg levels within the UK civil plutonium stockpile. A chemical separation process is required to extract the 241Am in a pure form and this paper describes such a process, successfully developed to the proof of concept stage.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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