Type your question here…How does it work the natural atomic reactor in OKLO (Gabon) in western Africa ?

I have heard that there is an natural reactor in OKLO in Republic of Gabon that has been there for thousands of years and it was discovered by a French Geologist in 1972. Is that reactor radioactive ? How does it work ? did it come from vulcanos ? What is the name of the Geologist tha discovered that reactor? If possible, thanks.



  1. 0 Votes

    The natural reactor is estimated to be 1.8 billion years old.  It was discovered by French physicist Francis Perrin in the 1970’s because a shipment of uranium from Gabon had depleted traces of Uranium-235.

    Uranium is soluble in oxidized water; because of the heightened levels of oxygen in the Proterozoic era, the ground water became oxidized.  The uranium present in rocks began to dissolve, in the form of uranyl ions.  These uranyl ions, as well as many other trace elements and ions, flowed into a natural stream.  This natural stream emptied into an algal mat with microorganisms that had the ability to collect and concentrate uranium.  The microorganisms were so good at this task that there eventually became enough uranium oxide to start a nuclear reaction.

    Uranium oxide, a fissionable isotope, can begin a self-sustaining nuclear chain-reaction when enough of the reactant is present.  The first round of fission gives off neutrons which begin another round of fission, and on, and on, forever.  The reaction will continue as long as more uranium is being delivered to the source  and provided the number of neutrons that escape the reaction are matched by ones entering.  The water acts as a reactor, because of its ability to slow the reaction and reflect neutrons.

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