Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities

© 1999 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 1999


6.2.5 Nuclear Energy Storage

By nanotechnological standards, the energy stored in atomic nuclei is huge. For instance, the energy density of an un-ionized radioactive atom of U235 is 1.5 x 1018 joules/m3, counting the kinetic energy of all fissile decay products in the total. Hydrogen that undergoes fusion into helium actually provides a much poorer volumetric energy storage density than for fission, ~4.4 x 1016 joules/m3 (again assuming storage of fuel as molecules), largely due to the comparatively high atomic number density of fissionable heavy metals. The highest practical energy density would be achieved by storing some theorized form of matter-friendly stabilized antimatter perhaps converted to a two-phase hypergolic (self-igniting) fuel,565 up to a maximum of ~2 x 1021 joules/m3 (fuel only) for platinum/antiplatinum annihilation. The difficulty, of course, is accessing this potential resource in a controlled and well-shielded fashion (Section 6.3.7).


Last updated on 18 February 2003