GarryB wrote:Any progress in nuclear batteries might make AIP a non issue...
Nuclear batteries? Such a thing exists physically at all?
We've only had them for over a century now...
@Teshub, @ Garry B, By my opinion nuclear batteries are batteries working on nuclear - atomic fission. The atom was first fissioned by Rutherford in 1935, or I am an idiot? First nuclear reactor was made for purpose of Manhattan project in early 40s. So, what are nuclear batteries to produce electricity by nuclear fission, without primary circle to heat water and without need to heat water in secondary circle and power turbine by steam. Turbine than runs E-generators. Fuel cells are not nuclear batteries.
Soviet Union is advanced in RTG generators, they made some of them for space use and put it in spacecraft, some of them are made for use in lighthouses on northern passage and for radio relay stations without human crew, if my memory is well, I think they put it on a Voyager II. After brake of SU, and in times of warm period with USA, Russian send one mock up of RTG to USA and never get it back
, because Senate is forbidden exporting nuclear technology in SU or Russia
(funny isn't it). One of key problems with them is low power output, and SU and now Russian are looking in how to make more powerful RTG setup. Most of this work is not public and information what we know are decade old. And RTG is one of possibility's what are opened by radioisotopes decay, there is other options how to use radioisotopes for producing electricity but output is low and not economical but for special purpose is acceptable.