Conceptual design of Americium nuclear battery for space power applications

Y. Ronen, M. Kurtzhand, L. Droizman, E. Shwageraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This work presents simplified 242mAm-fueled nuclear battery concept design featuring direct fission products energy conversion and passive heat rejection. Optimization of the battery operating characteristics and dimensions was performed. The calculations of power conversion efficiency under thermal and nuclear design constraints showed that 5.6 We/kg power density can be achieved, which corresponds to conversion efficiency of about 4%. A system with about 190 cm outer radius translates into 17.8 MT mass per 100 kWe. Total power scales linearly with the outer surface area of the battery through which the residual heat is rejected. Tradeoffs between the battery lifetime, mass, dimensions, power rating, and conversion efficiency are presented and discussed. The battery can be used in a wide variety of interplanetary missions with power requirements in the kW to MW range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)874-880
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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