NASA may get renewed supply of radioactive fuel

05/8/2009 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

Just hours after the National Research Council warned on Thursday that supplies of radioactive fuel were running dangerously low, the Energy Department announced it will seek $30 million to restart a fuel-making program. The NRC said U.S. leadership in space depends on its ability to conduct deep-space missions, and a lack of plutonium-238 could endanger that ability. The radioactive fuel has not been made in the U.S. for about 20 years, and NASA currently uses about 11 pounds a year in its space missions.

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