Monday, February 7, 2011

Natural Fission Reactors

In 1956 Paul Kuroda predicted that we could find fission reactions occurring in nature... In 1972, we found one.


At Oklo, in Gabon Africa, there are places where specific amounts of water and uranium mix it the right levels to cause self sustaining reactions leading in a different local level Uranium 235 than there should be.

Now the world has a lot of scientists out there checking local levels of 235U (the stuff used to make bombs) vs 238U (the stuff that just sits there and doesn't do much)... mostly they want to know if someone is mining it.

So whenever they find a discrepancy, they send a team out to make sure there isn't a guy nearby in goggles and a lab coat cackling maniacally as he's flipping switches and shouting at his hunchbacked assistant.

What they found is more interesting

And people wonder why I stopped reading fiction.