Russia’s Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) said this week that it had completed the next stage of creating a beta-voltaic power source based on the isotope NI-63 that would effectively lead to a nuclear powered battery with an operational lifespan of 50 years.
“Conversion of the working gas enriched for a Ni-63 to a form suitable for drawing on the semiconductor converter,” has been established, the said the company that was established in the 1950s to create weapons grade plutonium.
“At the moment,” the company said, “the delivery of the appropriate components for the deposition of Ni-63 and the final assembly of a prototype atomic battery is expected.”
The new converter design “qualitatively increases the efficiency of all components,” MCC said.
s a system integrator, the Mining and Chemical Combine carries out project management and organized work in two directions: obtaining highly enriched Ni-63 isotope (more than 10 stages) and creating a special structure of a semiconductor converter (more than 10 stages).
To implement the project, a number of technologies were recreated, in particular: the production of working gas from radioactive nickel-63 for its further enrichment in centrifuges, the production of the necessary reagents for the production of working gas, the conversion of enriched nickel-63 gas to solid compounds for deposition on a semiconductor, excluding high technological losses of the target isotope. The scientific and technical solutions that were found to create the technological chain of isotope production have no analogues, which allowed them to be protected by patents operating in the Russian Federation and abroad. Work on the protection of intellectual property continues, the aggregate capacity of the novelty of the project is more than ten patents.
In addition, the project led to the revival of a number of industries. In particular, the Electrochemical Plant (Zelenogorsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory) put into operation an appropriate cascade of centrifuges previously shut down by TVEL JSC in order to save.
Power sources on Ni-63 high enrichment and with a new converter design create a breakthrough platform for designing new-generation devices in the field of cybernetics and AI, where miniaturized sources of this type can imitate the work of brain neurons in the future. They should not be considered as an alternative to lithium batteries. This is a new type of devices that will become the basis for a new architecture of electronic devices, MCC said.
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