Inside China's Nuclear Battery Breakthrough -

Inside China’s Nuclear Battery Breakthrough

Dr Ben Miles
Views: 267267
Like: 5533
Betavolt made the headlines with a coin-sized nuclear battery capable of delivering power for an impressive duration of 50 years. Let’s look at Betavolt’s claim, assess its practicality in real-world scenarios, and explore the ways it could redefine energy consumption and device operation over the long term.

Solid state Battery

Follow my work here:

I think Scientists are Rockstars so I made t-shirts to celebrate it
Einstein Rockstar Tee:
Curie Rockstar Tee:
Schrodinger Rockstar Tee:

#nuclearbattery #breakthrough #betavolt #physics #science

00:00 The Nuclear battery that produces power for 50 years
1:10 Nuclear Physics 101
2:24 The History of Nuclear Batteries
3:28 Betavoltaics – The Next Generation
5:48 Betavolts Claims
8:14 Does It Live Up To The Hype?
10:31 The Verdict

If you enjoy the channel and want even more physics, tech, and business content, I’ve just launched new Instagram and Threads pages. Follow on the links below


A few people have asked so I’ve added the info below. Some of these are affiliate links. If you make a purchase it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but a percentage of the sale will help support this channel and my work to bringing entrepreneurship into science.
My camera :
My lens:
My lav: and
My mic:


  1. betavoltaic batteries were invented 50 years ago. Come on… and this is especially not relevant, since it needs Ni63 isotope, which can only be synthetized for a low sum of 4000 USD per gram. So for producing 1 W, they will need 35 kg of it, it comes down to the bargain price of 140 million USD only for Ni63. But you know… this is the cheaper side, if they want 35 kg of artificial diamond, it will cost like 310 million USD for the cheapest options. So let's see: 1W for 50 years, 438 kWh for 450 million USD, so roughly 1 kWh for 1 million USD. I don't know how expensive the electricity at your place, I can buy it for like for about 1/10millionth of that price.

  2. This from a country that produces huge amounts of fakes/counterfeits, tofu-dreg materials and so much propaganda, while I like the idea of endless power, anything coming out of China, a strong NO THANKS

  3. These batteries are such an eye-roll to engineers. Micro-micro-watt batteries are totally useless for everything except the absolute corner-condition niche applications. Even the most skilled, clever and imaginative electrical engineers struggle to find practical applications for these batteries.

  4. The moment someone went to shoot a phone with that battery or poke it with a knife I look at you Jerry rig everything

    We will see a big mushroom cloud

  5. but do you want something radio-active in your pocket/against your ear?

  6. I cannot see this technology reaching the consumer markets any time soon. It seems like a hazardous waste risk, since consumers are likely to just bin devices carrying these batteries as they become obsolete. A few of these radioactive batteries in the landfill is insignificant, a few million in the landfill is a potential problem.

  7. Three Letter Acronyms, or as I call them, TLAs

  8. Would these batteries work on airtags?

  9. This concept is revolutionary, imagine we use all radio active waste as power

  10. A nuclear battery made in China. What could possibly go wrong?

  11. Inventions in battery department has been long due! We have been using same batteries for quite a long time.

  12. Typical communist chinese "sloganized" announcement without any proof of whatsoever.

  13. I was thinking remote sensor stations power supply for cold operation, when it doesn't have enough solar (or it is malfunctioning). Somewhere in Antarctica. To power a clock and infrequent report to base.

  14. I don't see mass production, or mass implementation. I can only see limited implementation of specific applications. Likely small applications. Or applications not public.

  15. When china perfects the technology the world should steel it and start making their own version

  16. Nasa actually did use radioactive materials to keep the mars rovers warm enough so they will not just freeze in the harsh martian winters. Genius!

  17. The Russians did this with the light Houses throughout the Soviet Union and it wasn't great to clean up

  18. Your narration and and easy understandable vocabulary is well above average, and your intelligence and critical thinking, great video Sir first time ive ever seen you so u got my sub for now anyway 👍

  19. I’ve been wondering why a nuclear powered car isn’t a thing.

    I understand why it’s difficult. But this right here shows it’s most likely possible?

  20. It's a lie china is propaganda always is

  21. No scientific breakthrough just Chinese propaganda and investor fraud!

  22. Watt-Hours is the more important measurement. This is a generator, not a battery.

    If the 70kg, 1W battery charges a capacitor for 1 hour, it gains 1 W-hr.
    In 1 day that's 24 W-hr per 70 kg = 0.34 Whr/Kg
    in 1 year it produces 124Whr/kg
    … etc

  23. How about the nuclear waste of these nuclear batteries? Aren't they dangerous? Will it irradiate landfills if it goes to consumer market?

  24. Make it go into market then we'll talk abt it.

  25. Unless they can replace the CR 2032, AAA, AA, cell phone battery, or EV battery, then there is no point in the media hype. Any one of those would be exciting. What they did announce was a power level that to me sounded near useless based on my decades of electronic device usage.

  26. As technology on this improves and we are able to use longer lasting isotopes in conjunction with better electron capture, we might be able to see phones and smart watches being able to last 100 years seeing also that the power requirements of these devices also decreases as technology improves. This seems feasible in the future to me.

  27. 5:48 "Lets talk about the specs". This battery has a 50 Curie Ni-63 source. You need a license from the NRC to possess a 50 Curie Ni-63 device. This thing will never make its way to the public. End of story. I can't believe a so-called Dr can't even see that.

  28. I live in Alaska and a decent density nuclear generator would definitely be a benefit for our off grid market.

  29. Thank you for this informative video.

    I made a quick back-on-the-envelope calculation. 1 gram of Nickel-63 has an activity of 2.1×10^12 Becquerel. It means that in 1 gram there are 2.1×10^12 beta decays (=56.8 Curie). Each beta decay has a variable energy, but on average we have roughly 20 keV = 20,000 * 1.6×10^{-19} = 3.2×10^{-15} joule/decay. So, eventually we have 2.1×10^12 * 3.2×10^{-15} = 0.00672 Watt. This is the amount of power produced by 1 gram of Nickel-63. Even if you were able to convert 100% of the radioactive decay energy into electric energy (impossible of course), you couldn't make more than that.

    The battery label reads "50 Curies", so it there should be 50/56.8 = 0.88 grams of Nickel-63 in each battery. So each battery produces 0.00592 W; thus the efficiency on converting the decay energy into electric energy is 0.0001 / 0.00592 = 0.017, or 1.7% if you will. Not very impressive, if you ask me.

    To produce 1 W, you would need 1 / (0.00672 * 0.017) = 8860 g of Nickel-63, or about a 9 kg of this radioactive isotope. I am aware that Nickel-63 can be made "relatively easily" in a nuclear reactor, by letting the non-radioactive and non-rare Nickel-62 be bombarded by neutrons… but a 9 kg lump to make the claimed 1 watt? Besides, these 9 kg would have to be spread over a very thin
    film; if you make a bulky amount of Nickel, most electrons are stopped inside the mass itself.

    All of this, of course, does not apply if you use some other radioactive isotope that produces more energetic electrons and/or at higher activity (more Becquerels/g) and/or a generator with higher efficiency when converting into electric energy. I may be wrong, but I think I've seen refereed papers in which beta voltaic efficiencies of ~10% are claimed. Moreover, the whole nuclear battery gets warm by the non-used beta particle energy, so it could double as thermocouple – converting thermal energy into electric energy via Seebeck effect. The efficiency of a good thermocouple is ~10%. Thus, as 0-th order approximation, ~20% of the beta decay energy could be converted into electric energy. This still means 0.0013 W/g for Nickel-63, but 0.06 W/g for Tritium (hydrogen whose nucleus has 2 neutrons in addition to the proton). However, Nickel-63 has a half-life of 100 years, while Tritium half-life is only 12 years. And it is expensive, since it is mostly directed to keep thermonuclear warheads endowed with their "explosive" that vanishes rapidly over the years.

    I think that Dr. Ben Miles is right – this technology is exciting and interesting, but it likely to have niche applications only. But we will see what the future has in store for us.

  30. This guy looks like what i imagine when i think of a super villain on his days off

  31. well…. if they put energy into producing radioactive materials for it . IMHO it could be called battery

  32. chinies battery overclaiming spec numbers? impossible! XD

  33. ….they reckon they'll have a 1 amp 3v out by June next year……that'll make a difference to everything……

  34. Voyager 1 sent out in 1977 that is still kicking has a nuclear battery..

  35. There is NO BREAKTHROUGH… they make 100 microwatts (0.0001) at 3v lmao…thats nothing!!! a simple automatic movement wristwatch hooked to a battery would do 100x that

  36. Gosh this video is somewhat rubbish. Why care about energy density? The real topic is POWER DENSITY (e.g. Watts per gram) and not energy density (Joules per gram). The power density is limited by the isotopic power density which is entirely limited by the decay chain of the isotope used. You won't get more power out than what the decay chain is producing and with a realistic efficiency of perhaps 10%, there is no magic possible. Even if you chose a much more radioactive isotope like Plutonium 238 (will be too dangerous and way too expensive), you will still never get close to Li-Ion on power density. This entire idea is a scam when companies start talking nonsense about drones, laptops, smart phones, EVs and so on. It wont happen ever because of the nuclear science involved and the first law of thermodynamics (electric output power is a fraction of the isotopic power). NDB did this scam for years until they got sued. Now it's just another company doing the exact same BS. Just to put things in perspective, your smart phone takes around 1000 times more power just to be in standby than what this battery can output. If you used this battery and turned the phone off completely, it would take more than 10 years to charge it (while nobody could call you) LOL…

  37. They only need to convince the Chinese gov. To get fundings

  38. If they are anything like their Lithium Ion batteries I'll give it a miss thanks.

  39. Can they be used using more than one battery at a time a battery bank to increase battery current flow.allowing larger objects over longer time . Or not.

  40. very very well thought out and reasonable conclusions

  41. How dangerous is it in the sense of a vehicle crash?

  42. I wouldn't use an electric chinese battery nvm a nuclear one. Tbh I refuse to but any products from China, nothing against the people but most companies have ties to the CCP and am I hell helping to enrich them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.