Electrical power needs may soon be satisfied by a wonderful new technology. What follows is a summary about tritium batteries. A prototype has operated for nearly five years, and the concept has been validated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Tritium is a hydrogen atom with two neutrons beside the proton in the nucleus. Tritium exists in trace amounts in rain and ground water, formed when this isotope of hydrogen combines with oxygen. Tritiated water is chemically identical to ordinary water. When tritiated water enters the body, about half is excreted within 10 days, leaving no effects. Remember that humans receive about 50% of their annual radiation dose from this type of background radiation, 48% from medical procedures and 2% from consumer goods. Drinking tritiated water (HTO) effluent from a nuclear power plant for a full year gives about one-twelfth the radiation of one round-trip airplane flight from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. Tritium has a half-life of 12.33 years and decays by emitting low-energy beta particles (electrons) and helium gas. This is all cited to prove tritium does not pose a threat to public health and safety.