In this first installment of a #ThrowbackThursday post, Nuclear News provides a review of radioisotope-powered pacemakers in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The article, published earlier this week, looks at the issue of disposing of nuclear-powered pacemakers, although considering how few are still in use today, it seems like this is really much ado about nothing.
January 20, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
February 23, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
NASA’s Perseverance rover, which successfully landed on Mars on February 18, is powered in part by the first plutonium produced at Department of Energy laboratories in more than 30 years. The radioactive decay of Pu-238 provides heat to radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) like the one onboard Perseverance and would also be used by the Dynamic Radioisotope Power System, currently under development, which is expected to provide three times the power of RTGs.
Idaho National Laboratory is scaling up the production of Pu-238 to help meet NASA’s production goal of 1.5 kg per year by 2026, the DOE announced on February 17.