If radioactive waste emits heat, why can’t we use it to produce energy?

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If radioactive waste emits heat, why can’t we use it to produce energy?

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The technology that you’re talking about is called a radioisotope thermoelectric generator.
You can read more about it on the Wikipedia page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator

>If radioactive waste emits heat, why can’t we use it to produce energy?

Nuclear power plants generate electricity by converting the heat from controlled nuclear fission into mechanical and eventually into electric energy *in the first place*.
The very fact that the final fuel state is called “waste” gives you a hint to the answer of your question: It can no longer emit **enough** heat to be a viable fuel.

Theoretically we can. In practice, it would be too expensive.

Also, for political and economical reasons, nobody wants to invest into research, that would make that a feasible source on industrial scale.

We aren’t very good at converting heat into electrical energy. That’s why we have to make systems that get rid of it. Machinery, electronics, cars, and even buildings all have cooling systems to get rid of heat because we don’t yet have the technology to turn it back into electrical energy. If we could solve that we would be in a much better position.

The Voyager space probes used this! Several other probes and some lunar missions as well.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MHW-RTG