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Author: Subject: Thorium plasma batteries, a myth or a mistery
kristofvagyok
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Thorium plasma batteries, a myth or a mistery

I've got a book written in 1972 named "Isotopes and industrial applications". There are mostly radioanalysis, radiometry, polymerisation, EtBr production initiated with Co-60 and a lot thing what is not so useful for a chemist... But! there is a bit interesting part of it: electricity from radioisotopes. This part of the book is just 3 pages from the 560, but they describe a few (working) methods:
-thermoelectric power generators (I think that everyone knows how they work, or if not, it's easy to find)
-voltage generators: a vacuum tube what holds a medium strong beta emitter (e.g.: Sr-90) betrween two electrodes. The Beta decay goes into one electrode, each B decay will effect circa 200000 electron to move a bit away and woala, electricity is generated at 5-350kV and 0.0000001W, so it's not that effective as it should.
-photoelectric power generators: a phosphor is placed next to a radioactive isotope, the phosphor glows and a "solar cell" is placed next to it what will generate some electricity. This is also not no efficient and a lot thing could be found from that by google.

But there is one thing is not mentioned by this book (maybe because it is developed after 1972): plasma batteries working with radioactive isotopes. Sounds strange? Yes.

The whole Th plasma battery stuff is stared by a man, named Aries DeGeus... He had an experimental device called plasmavolt what used hydrogen(maybe deuterium?) as a fuel with a high vacuum and worked similarly as a fusor (high voltage through some deuterium what could fuse)... The myth (or hoax) was performed to the press and they said that "from the transmutation potassium 40 and excess energy was formed" : http://www.rexresearch.com/degeus/aag2.jpg. The first question: how did the potassium transmutated in the hydrogen "plasma" and how did excess energy came out from the device? Nothing never-ever explained. But never mind, the story goes on.

The next chapter could be that DeGeus is a science pioneer, he had a lot patents, and "wow machines" with unbelievable results and he seemed to have an awesome career... But then!

The next chapter starts with a really bad thing: DeGeus was found in his car parking next to an airport. He died. The problem was here that he would have signed an agreement from a lot million dollars for his self powering battery technology what was something like what people call "thorium plasma battery". He never published any useful.. So sad.

There were also russian and other scientists who have had a research with this plasma battery, one of them had powered his house for a year with this "shoebox sized battery", but after this they have all disappeared, they are missing and noone could post they results. Sad.

My question and the topic would be from ONE question what I couldn't figure out: HOW COULD THIS WORK? I know that this is probably a hoax, it is not true, but I would give it a chance: how could they get some energy from that?

Thorium is a not so highly radioactive metal, the 232 isotope decays with an alpha decay to radium, but it has an extremely high halflife (1,4x10^10 year), so just traces of alpha particles are produced from that, it is not even heating itself (like Pu-238, Po-210 ect). And this much of He+2 aprticle is not enough to power anything, not even a LED.

If we get back to the original idea, so get some hydrogen, make some plasma from that and with this make some other stuff what is maybe useful... I would say that maybe Th-hydride could be produced what is also not good for anything. So anyone, any idea?

If we google this thing we will find things like: 8g of thorium could power a car and a little more could power a house for years... Funny.

So, what do You think, is it a myth or a mistery?

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unionised
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It sounds bogus to me.
Simple fact is that thorium doesn't generate a lot of power.
AndersHoveland
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If there is any truth to this, I imagine it would be similar to magnetohydrodynamic generators.
The interesting thing is that if the radioisotope is placed in a vacuum, the plasma could be maintained in such a state at lower energy levels. Think of low pressure gas discharge tubes, for example.

Thorium can also power breeder reactors, although I am not sure that has anything to do with this alleged technology.
(if exposed to a strong neutron source, the thorium will be converted into uranium-233, which can then undergo fission with additional neutrons)

MHD technology has been well tested and successfully demonstrated in many applications, although it has never become commercially practical. There were even some large-scale experimental coal fired powerplants that seeded their exhaust with potassium ions (to maintain the plasma at a lower temperature) and initially ran it through an MHD generator, before sending it to conventional steam turbines, resulting in a boost in net efficiency.

And tritium-deuturium Farnsworth fusors have also been built by amateur hobbyists, some of which produce hazardous levels of neutron radiation. http://www.fusor.net/ These operate at voltages of only 50 kV. I have also seen commercial neutron sources that that operate with voltages of 300kV to directly (unlike the Farnsworth fusor) bombard a tritium containing target with deuturium ions, initiating fusion and producing neutrons. Interestingly, I remember reading that these devices actually released more energy than it took to power them, although it could still never become a power source because of the inefficiency of converting neutron radiation back to electric current.

300 kV is really not beyond the capabilities of electronics hobbyists. I built a 120 kV voltage multiplier before. There are quite a few hobbyists sites on the internet with pictures that show how to make these voltage multipliers, Marx generators, and fusors.

So I am wondering if this could be some type of fusion-fission device? Where some type of advanced fusor provides the neutron source to use thorium as a nuclear fuel. I am not sure of the details, but the neutrons from fusion have much higher energies than neutrons from fission, and might possibly be able to result in direct fission of the thorium, without it having to act as a breeder.

And then the fission fragments of the thorium would, within the vacuum, come out in the form of a low density plasma that would pass through a magnetic field to power the MHD generator. Efficiencies could be up to 40%.

There can be plenty of speculation, but this may get you started.

[Edited on 19-8-2012 by AndersHoveland]

[Edited on 19-8-2012 by AndersHoveland]
neptunium
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that or some exotic isotope of thorium directly fissionable (if more than a few atoms generated!)...hence the death of everyone who used it in their house!

AndersHoveland
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here is a paper about a fission-fusion hybrid thorium reactor
https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/mragheb/www/The%20Fusion%20Fission...
kristofvagyok
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If we assume that it is similar to a fusor, so there is a a deuterium plasma what fuses to give some neutron and the neutrons go to the thorium (coating?) to produce some U233 or any heavier isotopes, then one problem is there: a really high amount of deuterium is needed to generate enough neutrons what should be slowed down to get heavier isotopes in a sufficient amount... And we just got back to the LTFR reactors with a really expensive neutron generator what is not a shoebox sized and a lot other things needed to get electricity from the heat of fusion/fission.

Maybe change the thorium to U-238? U-238 is fissionable by fast neutrons and the reaction won't go further, just as much neutron it gets from the DD fusion. The problem with this: it will also generate heat and not direct electricity and no thorium is needed to do this. Also: Pu won't form, because the neutrons are not slowed down, so no atomic bombs could be made, damn

The MHD technology looks promising, plasma could be easily form if one electrode is made of a radioactive material what ionizes the gas, but to get a bit more energy from this... Interesting.

I have heard that the Russians had a few experiments to make supper effective lightning rods, they used a tiny bit of Ra or Co-60 on the metal rods and even tiny amounts of radioactive stuff was so effective that these rods were similar active as a 50 meter high lightning rod....

So, is the Th enough to decrease the voltage what is needed to get plasma what is enough to make a plasma battery what could power a ... LED? Or maybe change the filling of the battery from any normal gas to... Potassium, caesium, ect? They are easily ionized and could power a battery similar what DeGeus described

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AndersHoveland
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 Quote: high energy neutrons produced from fusion events are capable of directly causing fission in both Thorium and U-238, the lower energy neutrons produced by spallation generally cannot (from wiki)

Apparently this is the reason that a thorium encasement immediately multiplies the energy from fusion, whereas when the original neutron source is from fission, it takes a long time for enough of the thorium to be converted into uranium-233 to be able to fission and release a net increase in energy.
Electro
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Green Thorium Plasma Batteries Are Super Energy Efficient

 Quote: Originally posted by unionised It sounds bogus to me. Simple fact is that thorium doesn't generate a lot of power.

This is truly ignorant. Thorium yields 200 times more energy per kilo than uranium with 1/50th of the radiation and 2% of the nuclear waste. This is one reason India, China, and Norway are all switching over to Thorium-powered reactors. Fukishima, Chernoybl, and 3 Mile Island are the other three reasons.

BTW... The Thorium reactors work with fission whereas the Thorium plasma batteries utilize the physics of fusion. So far it appears the the only real problem is heat dissipation. The battery that powered Petronov's house for over a year, was said to be about 60 degree Celsius and while operating and had to be kept in a ceramic cradle. I guess in the winter it does double duty as a heater!

A golfball size piece of Thorium could power a car that you buy today and if it didn't fall apart, would be driven by your grandichildren's grandchildren without ever needing a recharge!

This is why they are being used by NASA on rovers and by the USAF on the X37 and stealth satellites. Truly maintenance free. Suggest you check out this link... http://open.salon.com/blog/green_energy_reports/2012/04/15/c...

What is really interesting about this technology is that Tesla actually demonstrated it back in the early 1900s and was told to stop his experiments by Uncle Sam. I think if energy cannot be metered and sold, it will never be given to the public.

The problem is that this battery has so many strategic applications that it will be another century before it replaces gasoline at the pumps. That will at least be the official explanation. As you read these words it is being used in torpedoes that may have a 75 mile range, drones that never need to land, and stealth satellites that do not need solar panels that give them distinct radar signatures. Here is another link worth reading from start to finish since many contributors did their homework...

http://www.energeticforum.com/renewable-energy/10974-nuclear...

[Edited on 14-1-2013 by Electro]

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IrC
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 Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland here is a paper about a fission-fusion hybrid thorium reactor https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/mragheb/www/The%20Fusion%20Fission...

If you have a local copy and it's under 2 mb can you post it here? I have tried for a long time and the site never loads. The single most annoying problem going through threads here or anywhere else is the well known fact that nothing of value survives online if it appears to be really interesting to me. Namely, it is always gone and I never get to see it. Similar to the Winscanner site with great pages on circuitry for computer control of radio transceivers. I have tried for 10 years to find the actual software to go with the circuitry. As all should know, putting valuable data online using geocities or tripod is absolute guarantee nothing of value will ever be found, and all great work will forever be destroyed. It's what they do. In this case I tracked down a student who did all the work including software design, graduated, went to work somewhere and forgot the site ever existed. Second to this is anything at universities where students graduate or drop out, leaving gaping holes where once knowledge resided. Or in general the site simply vanishes. I have run into this with thousands of links over years reading threads on this site.

Please tell me you copied this file it looks like an interesting read. One I hope did not fall prey to the internet Langoliers.

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" Richard Feynman
plante1999
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Quote: Originally posted by IrC
 Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland here is a paper about a fission-fusion hybrid thorium reactor https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/mragheb/www/The%20Fusion%20Fission...

If you have a local copy and it's under 2 mb can you post it here? I have tried for a long time and the site never loads. The single most annoying problem going through threads here or anywhere else is the well known fact that nothing of value survives online if it appears to be really interesting to me. Namely, it is always gone and I never get to see it. Similar to the Winscanner site with great pages on circuitry for computer control of radio transceivers. I have tried for 10 years to find the actual software to go with the circuitry. As all should know, putting valuable data online using geocities or tripod is absolute guarantee nothing of value will ever be found, and all great work will forever be destroyed. It's what they do. In this case I tracked down a student who did all the work including software design, graduated, went to work somewhere and forgot the site ever existed. Second to this is anything at universities where students graduate or drop out, leaving gaping holes where once knowledge resided. Or in general the site simply vanishes. I have run into this with thousands of links over years reading threads on this site.

Please tell me you copied this file it looks like an interesting read. One I hope did not fall prey to the internet Langoliers.

It is the reason why I do mostly PDF on my website, and no add on on the website. The website may disappear for a reason or another. But everyone who downloaded PDF would still have the documentation. I will try to keep the website however!

kristofvagyok
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 Quote: Originally posted by IrC If you have a local copy and it's under 2 mb can you post it here?

It's a bit larger than 2MB but it could be found here:
http://ebookbrowse.com/the-fusion-fission-thorium-hybrid-rag...

I have a blog where I post my pictures from my work: http://labphoto.tumblr.com/
-Pictures from chemistry, check it out(:

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IrC
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Thank you for the link kristofvagyok.

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" Richard Feynman
Rosco Bodine
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Electro
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Thorium Plasma Battery Disruptive Technology Is Strategic

Too many people in this thread are confusing Thorium nuclear reactors (fission) with Thorium nuclear plasma batteries (fusion). The reason information on this technology is scarce is because of strategic applications. When you have a compact power source with constant energy output for years (the half life of Thorium 232 isotope is 14 million years!) you can power the following devices which if you do some homework in the DARPA project field, you will see already exist including the drone below (X47) that can remain aloft for years circling a hostile territory with the ability to destroy a metropolis or aircraft carrier in less than 5 minutes (some air traffic controllers clocked these babies at Mach 5 for up to 9 minutes)

Now imagine a nuclear stealth torpedo that can follow a prospective target (air craft carrier) for months undetected, powered by a thorium plasma battery that can be armed and signaled to attack remotely. They are undetected because they follow in the wake zone emitting the identical sonic profile as the ship itself. Such a torpedo already exists called the "Fishawk" and it is manufactured by Raytheon. It is launched by air or submarine 100 miles from a combat zone and seeks out a target of choice.

Now look up to the stars where space has been weaponized over the last decade (in violation of five different treaties). There you will find the X37 (a weapons platform for a tungsten rod launcher) See "Rods From God" http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2004-06/rods-god and stealth killer satellites that do not have any tell-tale solar panels quickly identified by radar. Both weapons are powered by thorium plasma batteries. Over 950 satellites are now in orbit and at least 60% of them are operated by the militaries of the world. Those launched by the U.S. Air Force since 2008 are powered by nuclear plasma batteries.

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/images/spacegun...

One only needs to look at the $30 Billion spent on SDI in the 1980s and the$3 Billion government grant given to the Princeton Plasma Laboratories in the 1990s to understand what has been going down and why we will never be allowed to have this green energy for our cars, trucks, buses, ships, and trains. A secondary reason is because it would wipe out the trillions in profits from the almighty oil companies. Free energy is simply not "convenient" for the greedy elites of the world. (The exact reason J.P. Morgan abandoned his sponsorship of Tesla in the early 1900s. He actually said "If energy cannot be measured and sold, I will not invest even one dollar in it."

Now for all of you who will suggest I am some "conspiracy" crackpot, let me remind you that the U.S. government still denies the deployment of long-range "rail guns" aboard some Navy destroyers (they are super deadly and accurate). They have been deployed since 2010 and below is one of many projectiles they can put into the bridge or combat control center of an enemy ship from 200 miles out within 1 minute. Rail guns are also powered by a nuclear plasma battery. Other useful information can be obtained at http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacegunconvent...

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/images/spacegun...

Disruptive technologies of the world will never reach the hands (or automobiles) of common people if they have such a high strategic value. Therefore such technologies will be denied and suppressed as explained by The Orion Project here:

http://www.theorionproject.org/en/suppressed.html

This 2010 Popular Mechanics article gives a chronology of space weaponization in lay man terms:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/weapons/...

Because of it super looooong battery life and reliable energy output, Thorium plasma batteries will be used in 90% of these projects. I'll bet Tesla is spinning in his grave at 1200 rpm!

[Edited on 18-5-2013 by Electro]

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Metacelsus
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Thorium plasma batteries use fusion, you say?
Fusing thorium, or any element heavier than iron, is energetically unfavorable:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_binding_energy
Thus, thorium plasma batteries would use energy, not produce it.

By the way, the Navy rail guns use capacitative pulse-forming networks, not plasma batteries:

IMHO, thorium plasma batteries are bogus. If you believe otherwise, please rigorously explain the physics to me.

As below, so above.
Electro
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 Quote: Originally posted by Cheddite Cheese Thorium plasma batteries use fusion, you say? Fusing thorium, or any element heavier than iron, is energetically unfavorable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_binding_energy Thus, thorium plasma batteries would use energy, not produce it. By the way, the Navy rail guns use capacitative pulse-forming networks, not plasma batteries: http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA476838 IMHO, thorium plasma batteries are bogus. If you believe otherwise, please rigorously explain the physics to me.

Plasma magnetic propulsion is also a reality (According To Stephen Hawking). I am not a physics professor, so kindly do your own homework as I am also doing. If I knew how all this stuff worked I would be sucking up the sun in Fiji right now instead of writing this post!

[Edited on 18-5-2013 by Electro]

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Why do people keep slapping Tesladownunder's Tesla coil picture on everything free energy???. It doesn't have anything to do with it.
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The prospect of producing a power cycle from fusing light isotopes with heavy isotopes as for
example Deuterium with Thorium and thus save a step is not out of the realm of possibility.
The idea of directly obtaining electrical output from this has analogs in other nuclear based
thermal battery devices.

Take a heavy metal radioactive isotope and fuse it with a slow neutron. This absorbed neutron
forms an even more unstable nucleus which spontaneously fissions becoming another element
entirely. Example :
Uranium 238 absorbs a neutron to become Uranium 239 a very unstable short lived isotope.
This spontaneously fissions emitting a beta particle to become Neptunium 239 , emitting another
beta particle ending up as Plutonium 239. A breeder reactor applies this principal to transmute
Thorium 232 into Uranium 233. Thorium 232 absorbs a neutron to become Thorium 233 which
emits a beta particle to become Protactinium 233 subsequently emitting another beta particle to
become Uranium 233 .

Fusion reactors have never been developed to the point of being net producers of energy yet
they are abundant sources of neutrons. This property has been proposed as a way to transmute
abundant fertile elements into fissile isotopes for power production.

Fusion Hybrid Breeder Reactor
In conventional fusion, the reaction produces a 14 MeV neutron and a 3.5 MeV alpha particle.
The thermal energy of these products is used, for instance to boil water. In the fusion fission
hybrid, one uses the neutron’s potential energy to breed ten times more fuel. Fission is energy
rich and neutron poor, while fusion is energy poor and neutron rich. The 14 MeV neutron is first
sent through a neutron multiplier which generates 2-4 neutrons for each fusion neutron. One
of these must be used to breed tritium from lithium, and one or more of the others are used
to breed U 233 from Th 232 or Pu 239 from U 238. As a rule of thumb, we consider the reactor
as breeding one fissile element and one triton from each fusion neutron. When the fissile element
burns, it typically releases about 200 MeV, so overall the energy from this process is increased by

With a steady state world population of 10 billion, using energy at a rate of 30 Terawatts
a combination of Uranium and Thorium breeders can supply energy beyond 6000 years.
Source for the information cited here _
www.ralphmoir.com/media/fisFisFusBreeder2_1.pdf

The consequences of implementation and wide spread use of this technology would mean
energy independence for all nations and the end of domination of the world's economy by
than what was known about moon travel when it was first proposed by president Kenedy.
That was realized in eight years. The Manhattan project that developed the atomic bomb
as a weapon at the close of the second world war created an entire industry equal in size
to the petroleum or steel industries of it's day in just four years. These were crash programs.

.
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I agree that the overall fusion-fission cycle would produce energy, yet Electro said that the battery doesn't use fission. Fusion hybrid breeder reactors may be viable, but what Electro and the websites he referenced were proposing was something completely different. They even claim it doesn't produce harmful radiation, which a fusion-fission breeder certainly would.

As below, so above.
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Forget the word "reactor" and start thinking in terms of charged thorium 232 plasma isotopes being passed or cycled through magnetic fields to generate voltage.

And no, that is not a photo of Tesla's coil! It is a photo of a weapon's platform for the X37 cargo bay for space powered by a thorium plasma battery which can be seen in the foreground (about the size of a briefcase).

If the DoE did not delete the 3 dozen posts they had from NASA and PPL on their website, some of you guys here would have been able to put all the pieces together. Suggest you take a look at these links...

http://exposingcensorship.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/murdered-g...

http://www.electricforum.com/cars/general-electric-vehicle-d...

http://open.salon.com/blog/green_energy_reports/2012/04/15/c...

http://now-you-know-the-truth.blogspot.com.au/

http://www.greenoptions.com/t/4206/who-decides-who-gets-to-u...

And only after you read the above links, will this one even be relevant...

http://www.missing-or-murdered.blogspot.com/

[Edited on 19-5-2013 by Electro]

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Metacelsus
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 Quote: Originally posted by Electro And no, that is not a photo of Tesla's coil! It is a photo of a weapon's platform for the X37 cargo bay for space powered by a thorium plasma battery which can be seen in the foreground (about the size of a briefcase). [Edited on 19-5-2013 by Electro]

I beg to differ. As Houdini0118 stated, that picture a long exposure of a Tesla coil with a rotating breakout point:

As below, so above.
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 Quote: Originally posted by Electro " start thinking in terms of charged thorium 232 plasma isotopes being passed or cycled through magnetic fields to generate voltage."

In no way does this comprise a battery which is a chemical process.
Low temperature magnetohydrodynamic generators have been demonstrated
by which a volatile working fluid carries dissolved potassium. Heat is provided
from a solar heated pond. Carnot efficiency does not rise above that of a
steam engine , around 11 %. Since the energy is essentially free it is viable in
sunny desert environments. A higher temperature derived from a nuclear source
may achieve better efficiency comparable to that of existing turbo generators
at nuclear plants. By cascading the exhaust from the MHD section to thermically
provide additional cogeneration of steam to power turbogenerators , higher
overall efficiency can be obtained.

I have yet to understand what it is that is being described.
My suggestion is to cite a paper that tells in detail what exactly is being
proposed so that it can be evaluated. Testimonials of buzz words are inadequate.

.
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From what I read, the Th battery relies only on the emittance of alpha particles.
These are moderated somewhat, and then absorbed by a metal plate, that accepts its +2 charge. The Th is left with a -2 charge. Thus you have a DC battery.

Works woth betas as well as with alphas, only the beta setup requires much thicker plates, thus reducing the energy-output/weight ratio of the battery.

[Edit:]From an energy perspective, this looks like a really stupid idea. Virtually all the energy of the radiation particles is in their velocity, not in overcoming the Coulomb barrier. In a setup as above you'd throw away the kinetic term, leaving only the potential term (plus huge amounts of heat).
A simple calculation tells you that 1 mole of decaying Th (6.6 e23 atoms) yield 2 * Avogadro's / charge of 1 coulomb = 96.5 kCoulomb.
Supposing you'd have a dielectric that would allow the alphas to pass without having a poor dielectric strength (feel very contradictive), and you'd obtain a potential difference of 1kV, that means you'd get a total of 96.5 * 1 MJ from the battery. A standard car battery has an energy storage of appr. 144 kJ per kg battery weight, which is only a factor of 7, assuming that you'd construct a battery of 1 kg from 1 mole of Th.

Conclusion: even if the idea would work, but it'd be highly inefficient.

[Edited on 21-5-2013 by Bezaleel]
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Giving the notion of "plasma battery" a second thought, I can make up the following logic from its name. Let me give you my thoughts.

What happend in an atomic bomb, and why is it designed to make this happen? Right, if you want to get all energy out of a portion of nuclear fuel, you have two ways of doing so: either you wait until, say, 5 times the isotope's half life has passed, or, you raise the temperature/pressure sufficiently to make the contribution of chain reactions the determining factor in nuclear desintegration. I guess it is this what is happening. Th naturally has a very long half life. So you'll either need huge amounts and get out little energy, as you might want to do in a nuclear Th-based power plant; or you will need to raise the temperature to stimulate nuclear fission. Raising the temperature to a few thousand degrees might be even insufficient to let a small amount of nuclear fuel burn at an appreciable rate, so you might seek resort to creating a plasma, as is done in arc-welding, for example.

See how plasma and fission may come together?

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