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(Medium)   In 1972, scientists discovered a 2 billion-year-old nuclear reactor in west Africa. Gulp   (medium.com) divider line 55
    More: Interesting, scientists discovered, nuclear reactors, Nuclear Physics, atomic nuclei, fundamental constants, fine structures, fissile material, nuclear waste  
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11161 clicks; posted to Geek » on 29 Apr 2014 at 1:48 PM (16 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-29 11:26:40 AM
This planet is truly a marvel.
I bet there are others.
Let's look.
 
2014-04-29 11:39:48 AM
There are only two possible explanations: It's the power source of an early model Stargate, or else Tesla crashed his nuclear-powered time machine in Africa.
 
2014-04-29 11:46:34 AM
Good luck finding spare parts for that.
 
2014-04-29 12:15:26 PM
I wonder if anyone noticed the ground being warmer there, or the high volume of denture sales.
 
2014-04-29 01:51:52 PM
old news.
 
2014-04-29 02:01:57 PM
"The Oklo story ebds with a damp squib."

WTF? I think the author has encoded a message in this sentence.
 
2014-04-29 02:05:33 PM
Makes me look at Yucca Mountain a little different.
 
2014-04-29 02:07:12 PM
A shame they've since been destroyed. They would've been fine World Heritage sites.
 
2014-04-29 02:12:46 PM
YAY! Nuclear power is safe, natural, and there is no way anything can possibly go wrong.

Also, burying all our shiat at Yucca mountain is a good idea.
 
2014-04-29 02:14:58 PM
Xenu?
 
2014-04-29 02:15:12 PM

Courtney Love's Genital Warts: YAY! Nuclear power is safe, natural, and there is no way anything can possibly go wrong.


Yup, no difference between a deposit of Uranium and a reactor at all.
 
2014-04-29 02:16:01 PM
 2 billion years without a meltdown.  That's a pretty good safety record.
 
2014-04-29 02:17:28 PM
That explains all those Godzilla thingies that the asteroid killed.

/interesting article subs
 
2014-04-29 02:20:59 PM
I learned about that in a microbiology class in grad school. There is a theory that chemotrophic bacteria may have concentrated the U235.
 
2014-04-29 02:26:55 PM
was it the Zohar?
 
2014-04-29 02:28:36 PM
someone want to explain this?

You go there, sit in warm sand, then you rot away?
 
2014-04-29 02:30:03 PM
Was it aliens?
 
2014-04-29 02:33:29 PM

J. Frank Parnell: Courtney Love's Genital Warts: YAY! Nuclear power is safe, natural, and there is no way anything can possibly go wrong.

Yup, no difference between a deposit of Uranium and a reactor at all.


We are talking about a deposit of Uranium that turned into a natural reactor, so in this case, there really isn't a difference.
 
2014-04-29 02:43:35 PM
catacombs.space1999.net

The obvious answer is to bury all this waste on the Moon
 
2014-04-29 02:44:49 PM
As long as your watch doesn't turn blue you'll be fine.
 
2014-04-29 02:46:34 PM

Delta1212: There are only two possible explanations: It's the power source of an early model Stargate, or else Tesla crashed his nuclear-powered time machine in Africa.


T'Challa frowns upon your shenanigans
 
2014-04-29 03:12:57 PM

pag1107: I learned about that in a microbiology class in grad school. There is a theory that chemotrophic bacteria may have concentrated the U235.


If that were the case, it most likely would have happened again sometime in the last 1.5 billion years. To the best of our knowledge it hasn't.

Considering (according to the article) that uranium 235 was a very fissile 17% when the solar system was created & still a fissile 4% 2 billion years ago, the bacteria theory isn't required to explain it (although I wouldn't put it past the little buggers; always looking for a way to take over the world).
 
2014-04-29 03:20:33 PM

Nonrepeating Rotating Binary: old news.


Like 2 billion years old. Thanks for clarifying that.
 
2014-04-29 03:23:07 PM
I love a website that gives me info on like a third of my screen at Reader's Digest For Old People size font. I don't feel that my mouse wheel finger gets enough exercise, since I have the World Scrolling Finals coming up next month. It's sites like this that keep food on my table.
 
2014-04-29 03:25:36 PM

Delta1212: There are only two possible explanations: It's the power source of an early model Stargate, or else Tesla crashed his nuclear-powered time machine in Africa.


I know a guy who says that this is evidence of hyperborean human civilization. Never minding that the reaction is so old that even if there was an advanced human civilization before 110,000 years ago, they would also recognize it as a billion year old natural phenomenon.
 
2014-04-29 03:25:38 PM
And don't we call Africa the cradle of life?

Was it a coincidence that rapid evolution occurred on the same continent as this runaway nuclear reaction?

This was God's first attempt at GMO; now we're finally playing with the same tools!
 
2014-04-29 03:25:41 PM

TheOriginalEd: was it the Zohar?


You don't mess with the Zohar.
 
2014-04-29 03:41:48 PM

TheOriginalEd: was it the Zohar?


Damn your eyes to health, I had completely forgotten about Xenogears, and the tragedy of it's lack of completion, or Xenosaga and it's incomprehensible, boring, convoluted, plot.
 
2014-04-29 03:48:00 PM

Courtney Love's Genital Warts: YAY! Nuclear power is safe, natural, and there is no way anything can possibly go wrong.

Also, burying all our shiat at Yucca mountain is a good idea.


That's why we should burn it in newer, safer, more efficient reactors. Not the reactors that were designed alongside black and white television.
 
2014-04-29 04:03:28 PM
But the first puzzle that physicists had to deal with in 1972 was how a naturally-occurring reactor could work at all. Nuclear scientists well know that reactors do not work with natural uranium because the level of uranium-235 is too low at only 0.7202 per cent.

As an aside, that's wrong. Natural uranium works just fine in a reactor with a heavy-water moderator. Those reactors can also burn thorium or the "spent" fuel from a light-water reactor.
 
2014-04-29 04:07:26 PM
Fer crying out loud, does not $$.50 a gallon gas make a nice new tech reactor look good?
And what's coal selling for? Betcha don't know.
 
2014-04-29 04:09:13 PM
Farking Navy has been building perfectly good reactors for 50 years.
We used to own them.
 
2014-04-29 04:11:18 PM

Havokmon: Courtney Love's Genital Warts: YAY! Nuclear power is safe, natural, and there is no way anything can possibly go wrong.

Also, burying all our shiat at Yucca mountain is a good idea.

That's why we should burn it in newer, safer, more efficient reactors. Not the reactors that were designed alongside black and white television.


Actually color TV...but you are right anyway.  Modern reactors use as fuel, which is why we should at least SAVE the stuff where we can get to it again.

Read about these sites some years back, very interesting stuff - of course one wonders how much radioactive steam was emitted by these reactors during a 'pulse' - sadly we will never know.

There are some theories about older planets where background radiation levels are too low to support mutations.

Ponder THIS:  Our sun does not make Uranium at all, it comes from Supernovae...
 
2014-04-29 04:14:24 PM
What about critical mass and geometry? It must have been quite a coincidence.
 
2014-04-29 04:19:41 PM
In 1972

[old-news-is-so-exciting.jpg]
 
2014-04-29 04:22:32 PM
The higher the U235 enrichment, the easier it is for a random arrangement of uranium ore to reach criticality in the presence of a light water moderator (as others have pointed out). The other requirement is the absence of neutron absorbing materials in appreciable quantities, such as boron or gadolinium. Below 1% enrichment you pretty much need fairly pure heavy water to overcome neutron absorption by the moderator.

Natural reactors can also be self-regulating if they happen to have negative power and temperature coefficients above a certain reactivity.
 
2014-04-29 04:41:31 PM
Brainsick: T'Challa frowns upon your shenanigans

OK, this actually gives us a way to determine if we're living in a DC or a Marvel universe.

We go there and look.  If it's Wakanda, we're in Marvel.  If it's Gorilla City, we're in DC.
 
2014-04-29 04:45:06 PM

snocone: Farking Navy has been building perfectly good reactors for 50 years.
We used to own them.


Yes, but the Navy does not have a profit motive. When you add a profit motive to anything that is dangerous when expensive regulations, safe guards, and maintenance is involved you can bet that some corporate asshat will circumvent the regulation, ignore the safeguards and forget about the maintenance in order to make more money.

For Christs sakes look at BP and the slap on the wrist they got for that mess in the Gulf of Mexico. They really should have had all their US assets seized, their corporate charter voided, and every executive we could get our hands on thrown in jail.

Corporations have proven time and again to be detrimental to the public good and the protection afforded by corporate charters should no longer apply to individuals. Owners of corporations should be liable for the actions of said corporations and have their assets at risk when corporate malfeasance occurs.
 
2014-04-29 04:49:14 PM

Galen_Rasputin: snocone: Farking Navy has been building perfectly good reactors for 50 years.
We used to own them.

Yes, but the Navy does not have a profit motive. When you add a profit motive to anything that is dangerous when expensive regulations, safe guards, and maintenance is involved you can bet that some corporate asshat will circumvent the regulation, ignore the safeguards and forget about the maintenance in order to make more money.

For Christs sakes look at BP and the slap on the wrist they got for that mess in the Gulf of Mexico. They really should have had all their US assets seized, their corporate charter voided, and every executive we could get our hands on thrown in jail.

Corporations have proven time and again to be detrimental to the public good and the protection afforded by corporate charters should no longer apply to individuals. Owners of corporations should be liable for the actions of said corporations and have their assets at risk when corporate malfeasance occurs.


Just sayin' that 50-60 years of "OMG, you'll radioactivate yourself" is about enough of that zhit.
 
2014-04-29 04:57:34 PM
That was the same year that a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem... if no one else can help... and if you can find them... maybe you can hire... them.
 
2014-04-29 06:11:08 PM

snocone: Farking Navy has been building perfectly good reactors for 50 years.


Overall yeah, but even the USN had its clunkers.
 
2014-04-29 06:12:18 PM
apod.nasa.gov
 
2014-04-29 06:58:00 PM
Meanwhile, millions of West Africans continue to breathe deep sighs of relief this is only two billion years' worth of accumulated, natural, nuclear waste, and not a significant proven crude oil reserve to provoke all kinds of freedom and democracy.
 
2014-04-29 07:10:16 PM
I'd love to see the borehole log from THAT hole....high gamma counts anyone?

In Australia, I've been to quite a few places that are naturally very "hot", hot to the point of I'm really not sure I want to be around there, hot the the point that the RSO I was with was not a fan (plus don't stay there at night) and hot to the point that if it was man made people would hit the roof and demand a clean up.

Hot to the point my dose badge read higher that quarter, then again I was doing a fair bit of source work, so it might of been a coincidence...
 
2014-04-29 08:36:57 PM

StrikitRich: [catacombs.space1999.net image 850x637]

The obvious answer is to bury all this waste on the Moon


The problem is getting it there without spreading it via failed launches.
 
2014-04-29 09:06:58 PM
A little while ago I wondered if there had been a natural fission reaction.  Through the wonder of Google/Wiki I read about the Oklo site.
 
2014-04-29 09:15:02 PM
This is worse than going on vacation and leaving the faucet dripping....
 
2014-04-29 10:03:41 PM
Drill into it, run piping down there, heat water.  Run piping through a heat exchanger safely below the surface, use the steam from that to run a series of turbines.  Quick nuclear power without dicking around.
 
2014-04-29 10:32:38 PM

Cpl.D: Drill into it, run piping down there, heat water.  Run piping through a heat exchanger safely below the surface, use the steam from that to run a series of turbines.  Quick nuclear power without dicking around.


The reaction is long over.

I wonder what it was like on the surface as it was happening.
 
2014-04-30 01:06:54 AM
I wonder if the pulsing technique would be useful in some man-made environ??

Safer?
More efficient?
Longer lasting?


just wondering...
 
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