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

Posts Tagged ‘georeactor hypothesis

Detecting a nuclear fission reactor at the centre of the Earth.

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Some months ago I wrote a post discussing Marvin Herndon’s controversial theory regarding a nuclear fission reactor, a “georeactor”, at the molten core of the Earth. One point I noted is that it should be entirely practical to falsify such a theory, to test it, to prove the existence of and to study the characteristics of such a nuclear reactor, by simply studying the flux of neutrinos (electron antineutrinos, specifically) from inside the Earth.

Here’s an interesting paper I found discussing just that.

Of course, the usual cautions regarding ArXiv preprint material apply – it is not peer-reviewed, and should be treated with skeptical scrutiny and caution.

Ultimately, the best possible site for a geo-reactor search is Hawaii (panel d) in Fig. 1). This option requires however, construction of a new excavated laboratory. In Hawaii, situated entirely on the oceanic crust with very low geo-U/Th. only the small signal from U/Th deep in the Mantle is visible. The remoteness from populated continents on either side reduces the power reactor signals to a comfortably low level.

With these considerations in mind, I wonder if the IceCube experiment at the South Pole wouldn’t be a much more useful detector site, with perhaps the best possible isolation from manmade reactors as well as geological U/Th radioactivity as you could possibly get? Not to mention the fact that the detector itself already exists, and doesn’t need to be constructed.

Written by Luke Weston

October 14, 2008 at 5:04 pm