National Nuclear Laboratory


Tuesday 21 November 2023

NNL features in ITN Business programme Space: Advancing the Future

We are excited to announce our involvement in the programme Space: Advancing the Future, produced by ITN Business, featuring our report on the use of nuclear power in space. With the space sector constantly advancing, new technologies are accelerating the growth of this global industry. The programme explores the technological advances enabling us to journey deeper into space.

NNL’s report is introduced by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, British space scientist and science educator. It shows how we are supporting the UK Space Agency with mission-critical radioisotope power systems, also known as ‘space batteries’. These systems utilise the radioisotope Amercium-241, which is extracted by NNL scientists at our world-leading Central Laboratory in Cumbria.

Professor Tim Tinsley, Account Director, National Nuclear Laboratory said; “Americium-241 provides a steady source of energy from the natural release of alpha particles for over 400 years. This energy is used either as heat, or it can be converted into an electrical current to power systems and sensors. NNL works in partnership with the University of Leicester, who have designed the radioisotope power system that will provide a vital source of energy for future space missions. We also acknowledge the support of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority that manages the source material on behalf of the UK Government.”

You can watch the programme below and the full ITN Business programme here.

NNL’s report in the ITN Business programme Space: Advancing the Future

More information on why we need nuclear power in space can be found here.