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Using Americium?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Mon May 30, 2005 1:57 pm
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Using Americium? 
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Post Using Americium?   Posted on: Mon May 30, 2005 1:57 pm
One day a few years ago I read an article reporting that a jewish university is working on an ion drive using a layer of Americium only a micrometer or so thick. The layer is so thin to prevent chain reaction of the highly radioactive Americium.

The article said that a vehicle using that Americium-Ion Drive would need only two weeks to reach the Mars.

As far as I remember the university working on it were Beersheba in Tel Aviv.

At least the short time sounds as if it must be an error. I didn't find any papers about it at the homepage of that university.

I would have to look for the articel in my archive which would last a little bit.

Does anyone here know of such a project? If yes what are the correct numbers and informations and where can I find them?



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Post    Posted on: Tue May 31, 2005 1:07 pm
Wikipedia article on Americium

I have no clue how this particular element would be more useful than any other radioactive element for building an interplanetary drive.

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Post    Posted on: Tue May 31, 2005 1:29 pm
As far as I remember the article said that Americium sends out significantly more ions than are got by using Xenon. May be I remember the element wrong and it was another radioactive element - Actinium perhaps or something like that. If I find that article I will post the correct element.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:17 pm
do you have a link to that University's website?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:45 pm
...


Last edited by whonos on Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:26 pm
I found some more detail, on an Italian project of the very same kind of drive. I haven't been able to read it all yet, but here you go: http://www.ansaldonucleare.it/TPap0304/NNPP/NPP_23.pdf.

A bit technical for me, I must admit.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:27 pm
Thank You Very Much, whonos, for seraching for and posting that link.

So I remembered wrong the university but the element was correct.

109Ace, when I read the german article I immediately searched for the university's website and looked to the sections of the researchers - but I didn't find any informations about what is to be read in the link whonos has posted - so I didn't save the link and don't remeber it.

What the artcile posted by whonos says seems to mean that Americium would be an extremely powerful propellant - what about it? May it get increased interest because of the Bush-plan?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 02, 2005 6:19 pm
I'll have to review the paper Marshall mentioned.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:15 pm
Carlo Rubbia has looked at that for years. Do a search on his name and some more info should pop up.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 03, 2005 1:28 pm
I wonder how the reaction would be controlled. After all, you can't just insert control rods into a micron thick layer.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:58 pm
I think Lewis' NTR with an oxygen afterburner (with LUNOX in the future) makes the most sense.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:58 am
What would be very interesting is which way the required amounts of Americium could be produced. New ways than the existing one should searched for.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:08 am
A few moments ago I read the german article "Pandoras Erbe" ( www.wissenschaft-online.de/abo/ticker/788058 ). The article mentions that the region around Tschernobyl is prohibited because of richness of Plutonium and Americium.

So there the Americium could be got. What would be required to explore it and to mine may be robots. Exploring would include to reserach the amounts first too.

This would have positive by-effects - the Ukraine could be payed for being allowed to do so, the region would be cleansed if the Americium would be mined, the devlopment of the robots would contribute to the development of robots for researching other planets and the whole expenses for this could prvide Americium as propellant for space flight.

Of course it has to calculated if this would be economical - but my point here is that it might be an interesting reservoir of Americium.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:31 pm
Shucks, Ekke, you can put on a decent RAD suit and walk into the plant if you want. They ran the other reactors until 2000, did you know?

Here's a Ukranian gal who visits the site for fun:

http://www.kiddofspeed.com/chernobyl-re ... pter9.html

I'd be far more concerned about how you're gonna process whatever you bring out of there?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:47 pm
Process it on site with new construction. Its already hot--so who cares?


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