Physical Insights

An independent scientist’s observations on society, technology, energy, science and the environment. “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.” – Carl Sagan

Archive for the ‘natural nuclear fission reactors’ Category

Anti-nuclear quote of the day.

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From a nuclear energy discussion thread over at The Moderate Voice:

Me: ‘The radioactive waste generated from the nuclear reactors at Oklo, two billion years ago, didn’t have containers that could rupture or rust.’

Them: ‘So, was this before the Borh seeded the earth, or after Von Daniken’s ancient astronauts?’

OK, So I didn’t explain in any real detail what the hell I was actually referring to, but I figured that this might catch the reader’s interest or imagination enough for them to do a tiny bit of research.

There’s nothing really scientifically exotic about the Oklo reactors – “enriched” Uranium, water coolant, water moderator, criticality – and lo and behold, you’ve got yourself a nuclear reactor.

Given that understanding them is straightforward, they’re an interesting natural phenomenon, and they give us valuable information about how nuclear fission products migrate in the Earth’s crust and in groundwater, over extremely long geological time scales, timescales more than long enough for even the longest-lived radioactive nuclides to completely decay, I like bringing them up in discussions, as I figure they are a natural phenomenon that even anti-nuclear energy people can find interesting.