Leicester academics work with South Korea on Radioisotope Power Technologies

The University of Leicester and National Nuclear Laboratory have committed to continue working with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in South Korea on research which is helping scientists to access distant, cold and inhospitable environments in space.

The organisations have been working together on radioisotope power systems research and coordination of launch safety studies relevant to the deployment of these technologies on space science exploration missions. The collaboration has proved so successful they have just pledged to continue it for three more years.

This is important news for the industry as these nuclear systems are enabling space missions to journey to challenging regions on the lunar surface, Mars and deep into the solar system.

Professor Richard Ambrosi is Executive Director of the University of Leicester’s Space Park Leicester and leads the University’s space nuclear power activities.

He said: “These technologies are enabling space missions to go further in their explorations than ever before and as a result they are adding greatly to our knowledge of the Solar System.

“We are proud to be working with our international partners on such important research which is expanding the global exploration roadmap.”

The University of Leicester is leading the development of radioisotope thermoelectric generator systems and radioisotope heater units as part of a European Space Agency programme and is doing so in close partnership with National Nuclear Laboratory who are leading on the extraction and production of the americium-241 fuel form that is essential for these systems.

Professor Tim Tinsley, Account Director at National Nuclear Laboratory, said: “Nuclear systems are an essential technology for a wide variety of space missions.

“We are pleased to be extending our agreement to continue working with the University of Leicester and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute on this vital research.”

Dr Han Gyu Joo, the president of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute added: “This agreement means our countries will continue to collaborate closely and share our ideas on space nuclear power systems and associated space applications.”

To learn more about the National Nuclear Laboratory, go to https://www.nnl.co.uk

For further information about Space Park Leicester, visit: https://www.space-park.co.uk/

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