hypnosec writes: Oak Ridge National Laboratory has successfully produced 50 grams of plutonium-238, an isotope that produces heat without a lot of other, problematic radiation. This makes it suitable for use in radioisotope thermoelectric generators, which can power space probes. The new sample effectively revives the U.S.'s end-to-end plutonium-238 production capabilities, which have been dormant for around 30 years since work was stopped at the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina. The ORNL is optimistic this important milestone will pave the way for regular production of the material, ensuring constant supply for NASA's future missions.
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