radioactive devices

Discussion in 'Energy & Electricity' started by machiavelli, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. machiavelli

    machiavelli Guest

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    Is having a radioactive power source becoming more common in consumer devices? I have heard of batteries and other devices with low radiation isotopes in them.
     
  2. EvilTOJ

    EvilTOJ O_o

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    I can't say I've ever heard of such a thing. I can't see why radioactive isotopes would be better than the standard elements already in use.
     

  3. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    smoke detectors have had radioctive polonium in them since their inception, not as a primary power source tho
     
  4. StillStanding

    StillStanding ...despite the fall

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    The only consumer products that are on the market today that use radioisotopes as their primary power source are:

    1) Tritium light sources, such as those used in night sights on guns
    2) Devices designed to dissipate static electricity using alpha radiation

    Other devices and batteries and so on may have some residual levels of radioactivity, but the radioactive decay is not used as a power source.
     
  5. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    theoretical 25-years-between-chargings batteries are being proposed/developed for applications such as satellite power, the primary fabrication method is to place a micro-layer of tritium suspension polymer on a diode wafer...

    Tritium is so safe that it is used in novelty glowing keychains, watch faces, and exit signs due to its faint luminosity (things for which the more dangerous radium is no longer used).

    Tritium is relatively rare, and is only manufactured in nuclear reactors. Its high cost is not likely to come down any time soon and in fact would likely only skyrocket should tritium become a widely-used fuel. Tritium also has applications in nuclear weaponry, and any significant quantities of it would be highly regulated.