More than 45 small radioactive electricity generators were in Antarctica between 1961 and 2015, an investigation by Stuff has found. The devices, called Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs), powered remote automatic weather and other scientific data collection efforts. Some moved through New Zealand air and sea ports, especially in Christchurch. The Antarctic RTGs were powered by small amounts strontium 90, a radioactive isotope with a half life of 28.8 years. They were typically shielded by depleted uranium to protect human and other life from ionising radiation. RTGs transformed heat produced by radioactivity into small amounts of electricity, enough to power a simple weather station for 10 years or more.
Stuff 2nd June 2018 read more »