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[1.6.1, 1.7] JDiminishingRTG: Realistic, configurable radioisotope decay!

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A mod written by @KwirkyJ to have RTGs perform more realistically .  Original thread is  here:  https://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/104415-113-jd

A smarter, shinier, better radioisotope module, now with more heat

auxiliary title: Quarter Life: Halfway to Dres-truction


  •  An improvement on stock RTG behavior with its eternal power supply.
  • Implements a configurable, robust mechanism for Radioisotope decay and power generation.
  • Parts with ModuleDiminishingRTG will be able to configure their isotope fuel from within the VAB, a single input being reflected across all symmetry companions.
  • Parts should behave consistently between vessel docking/undocking.
  • Decay operates in background (all unfocused vessels).
  • Can be added to any part without interference... probably.
  • Inspired by "Realistic RTGs" plugin by Gribbleschnibit8 http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/96030/
  • ModuleManager redistributed under CC SA license.




  • Module Manager

In the VAB...


Been in space a while, adjusting Duna orbit


Output (Ec/min) of 1 Unit (dL) of fuel over ten years, multiply by 7 for actual values --

Red is Krontium90

Green is Kyandere210

Blue is Kitsunium238

Yellow is Kuudite241




  •  Look at provided configs for documentation.
  • Plugin and source available under LGPLv3 : You are free to run, modify, recompile, and redistribute with attribution and same license.
  • Assets (cfg files) made available under CC BY NC 4.0 : You may share and modify-and-share so long as credit is given and is not sold.
  • All RTGFUELCONFIG nodes ABSOLUTELY MUST have a resource definition of the same name.
  •  Adding/removing RTGFUELCONFIG nodes may have a deleterious effect to .craft files and persistent saves -- modify with caution.
  • If more than one RTGFUELCONFIG has the same name, only one will be retained and order is undefined.


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Note to other Kerbalism users - it doubles up with the default profile RTG patch Kerbalism has.

For other Near Future Electrical users, it doesn't remove ModuleRadioisotopeGenerator that the newest versions of NFE use, but it does remove ModuleGeneratorRTG from older versions.

Both of the above are easy user-side MM patches. I haven't tested TACLS BackgroundProcessing, but integration seems unnecessary since this mod does its own background simulation of decay.

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  • 6 months later...

Just wanted to give a 'thumbs up' to this mod and offer a recommendation.

Years ago, when I was working in the field of statistical data analysis, a materials engineer requested data on radioactive materials, their pertinent facts, statistical analysis on their decay rates and decay chain products, specific heat capacity,  as well as statistical calculations on shielding methods and weights for each. The list was for fifteen radioisotopes and I still have all the data I collected on that project. I ran the numbers against your list of materials and noted some discrepancies against real-world figures. (which should still be valid in Kerbal-world as radioisotopes don't change their properties just because you have green skin ;^)

Here are your RTGFuelConfigs and RTGResources files with the corrected data on the four products in your RTG Mod (though I DID change the names of some as I thought they could be much cleverer while still hinting at their more well-known names) as well as five additional potential RTG fuels. The other six were discarded early on in the study as their energy density vs decay rate of other fuels were better... i.e. they had longer half-lives and produced more power than the six discarded isotopes which had nothing going for them. The only one that was outclassed by another element (Plutonium-238 has both a longer half-life and higher energy density in W/g) that was kept in the study was Strontium-90 simply based on the ease of access to that isotope.

Thoughts welcome and please fell free to use these files in your Mod if you like them!

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