Accelerating nuclear decay

1. Apr 2, 2008

sanman

Hi,

While googling around further, I came across this reference:

That sounds significant. 210Po is supposed to be a significant alpha emitter, and has been used in Radioisotope Thermal Generators. So enhancing its decay rate by 5-8% means significantly more energy output. However, I'd imagine it would be difficult to drain the heat off a nuclear fuel element fast enough to keep it at 12K.

But still, wouldn't it be an interesting idea?

2. Apr 3, 2008

humanino

Hi,

now that this discussion is open on the topic, maybe we can stick to it here

You can play with beta-decay, but there is no way it will produce as much energy as fission/fusion. The main difference is that beta-decay occurs through the weak force whereas fission/fussion come about with the strong force. The names were chosen of course for a reason. Not only are the energies involved in fission/fusion definitely larger, but also those reactions are much faster.

Any case, the general discussion is interesting, but not for energy production.

3. Apr 3, 2008

sanman

Well, like I said, you could also choose a nuclide that has a naturally shorter half-life, so that you can get more power out of it naturally. Then perhaps you could increase the beta-decay rate over and beyond that.

What's wrong with trying to use something like deuterons, to bombard them against a heavy nuclide in the hopes that you'll get alpha emission?

I was also reading about double-beta decay, but I don't know if that's something which can be influenced.

If nuclear stability also relates to nuclear vibrations, then couldn't magnetic resonance help to weaken nuclei?