Accession Number : ADA195750

Title :   The Feasibility of Controlled Rate of Release of Energy by Nuclear Alpha-Emitters.

Descriptive Note : Final rept. Dec 87-Jun 88,

Corporate Author : INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA

Personal Author(s) : Sparrow, David A

PDF Url : ADA195750

Report Date : Jun 1988

Pagination or Media Count : 16

Abstract : Energy is approximately one million times more densely stored in atomic nuclei than in chemical bonds. This has been exploited in nuclear reactors which can supply varying amounts of electric power, but which have a minimum size, and in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) which can be small, but have very limited power range despite their large energy density. This paper looks at some possibilities for externally varying alpha decay rates, in an attempt to design an RTG which would be a light, compact, variable electric power source for space applications with peak power much greater than presently available. We consider using alpha particles to stimulate decay, and microwave absorption to reduce the angular momentum barrier and hasten spontaneous decay. Neither of these approaches seems feasible.

Descriptors :   *NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, NUCLEAR REACTORS, EMITTERS, RADIOISOTOPE THERMOELECTRIC DEVICES

Subject Categories : Fission Reactor Physics
      Nuclear Power Plants and Fission Reactor Eng

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE