Nuclear batteries are an energy device that generates electricity through the decay of a radioactive isotope. These are also called atomic battery and radioisotope battery. Nuclear batteries can be classified into two broad categories, thermal units which convert heat into electricity and non-thermal units which convert radiation directly into electricity.
Although nuclear batteries exist, they are not produced on a large scale. Nuclear batteries are usually custom units produced for a specific purpose. However, nuclear batteries are expected to become more commonly available in the near future. This will be made possible thanks to new technological breakthroughs and the availability of next-generation materials. To understand its potential, here is an overview of some of the main uses of nuclear batteries.
Pacemakers – Pacemaker batteries already have a long life of about 5 to 10 years. However, nuclear batteries are going to be a complete game-changer, as they can last virtually forever. This means no more cuts to replace the pacemaker battery.
Medical implants – Medical implants are among the most advanced treatment and wellness techniques available to mankind. Like a pacemaker, some of these medical implants use electricity to function. With a nuclear battery, doctors can ensure that the implant continues to benefit the patient throughout their lifetime.
space exploration – Nuclear batteries already play a key role in helping humanity explore the vast expanses of outer space. Beyond areas or situations where the spacecraft may not be able to harness solar power, systems can continue to operate with nuclear batteries. These should play a key role in helping humanity not only explore but also colonize space.
Supply of remote stations – In remote areas, nuclear batteries can be used to provide continuous power to science stations. There will be no need to become dependent on generators or solar power.
Underwater systems – There is a lot of equipment on or under the seabed that needs to be monitored regularly. For example, there are oil and gas pipelines, underwater pumping stations, communication cables, etc. With nuclear batteries, a number of surveillance equipment such as sensors and cameras can remain submerged for long periods of time without the need to change batteries.
Military applications – With nuclear batteries, military equipment such as radars, communication systems, etc. may operate in areas where electricity or generators may not be available. This will provide a tactical advantage over enemy forces.
Electric cars without charging – Although electric cars are great, the problem is that they need to be charged quite frequently. Nuclear batteries will make things easier, as these batteries do not need to be recharged. Researchers are working on creating a prototype that can operate exclusively on nuclear batteries.
No charging electronics – Low-voltage electronic devices such as connected watches, measuring instruments, etc. can be powered by nuclear batteries. These won’t require recharging, making things completely hassle-free.
Environmental Protection – Standard batteries contain hazardous chemicals that pollute the environment. Nuclear batteries are made from nuclear waste, which in itself is environmentally friendly. Additionally, nuclear batteries do not contain polluting chemicals and can last for decades.
IoT revolution – With nuclear batteries, more things can be part of an interconnected system. For example, nuclear batteries can be used to power devices such as door locks, fire alarms, security systems, home automation, etc. Nuclear battery powered IoT devices will also play a crucial role in industries such as medicine, manufacturing, agriculture, power generation, transportation. and logistics, environmental monitoring, etc.