A reaction similar to what occurred inside a modern power plant in the Oqlo region of Gabon, Africa, about two billion years ago occurred spontaneously.
In 1942, physicist Enrico Fermi and a group of workers built what they thought to be the first nuclear reactor on the Chicago racquetball court. Unfortunately, they had been beaten by nature by nine for centuries.
In fact, the autonomous power plant was invented 2 billion years ago in Africa! A 100 kW nuclear power plant produced power pulses every three hours for about 150,000 years.
The finding of the prehistoric Oklo nuclear plant
On June 2, 1972, a French nuclear fuel processing plant found that 200 kg of uranium had been purified in a uranium mine in the Oklo region of the Republic of Gabon. The French Atomic Energy Commission immediately launched an investigation to avoid someone (or a secret organization) to build a nuclear bomb.
Finally, after a thorough investigation, researchers and scientists from all over the world concluded that six enormous nuclear reactors dating back as far as 2 billion years are situated near Gabon’s uranium mine and have been operational for at least 150,000 years!
The advanced process of self-sustaining fission
Old nuclear reactors regulate and reflect sequential fission neutrons by using surface water and groundwater, and its operation is much more advanced than that of current nuclear reactors.
Furthermore, geological evidence showed that uranium in lens-shaped veins of uranium ore had undergone self-sustaining fission chain reactions that generated intense heat.
Subatomic neutrons emitted by radioactive decay of uranium atoms cause the decay of other uranium atoms, resulting in a nuclear fission cascade and significant energy released as heat. This is how modern nuclear reactors generate electricity.
The first phase in the Uranium-235 chain reaction, which leads to a nuclear fission bomb and provides power inside a nuclear reactor, is neutron absorption, producing three additional free neutrons. Fastfission/Wikimedia Commons/E. Siegel/Wikimedia Commons
However, why didn’t the Oklo reactor immediately jump into a runaway chain reaction that led to the meltdown of the veins or even to an explosion?
‘Moderators’ are used in nuclear power reactors to keep the reaction under control. These chemicals either slow down or speed up the chain reaction by absorbing certain fission neutrons or modulating the neutron’s energy.
It needs the purely natural water.
Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, former chairman of the American Atomic Energy Commission and Nobel winner, points out: “For uranium to continue to “burn,” all conditions must be unbiased. The water used in a nuclear reaction must be very pure; even a few parts per million of impurities might produce “toxic” reactions that cause the reactor to stop working. There is nowhere else in the world that contains such pure natural water.
The radioactive rock samples
The Vienna Natural History Museum received two rock samples recovered during drilling operations in Oklo in April 2018. Thanks to the support from Orano, a nuclear fuel manufacturer, and the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission of France (CEA), the donation (and ceremony) was possible. The French Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna supported the effort.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the two samples emit radiation of about 40 microsieverts per hour according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which helped monitor radioactivity levels and handling of those samples. “A 5-centimeter position from them, which roughly compares to the amount of cosmic radiation a passenger would receive on an eight-hour flight from Vienna to New York.”
The incredible hypotheses
Gabon’s Oklo reactor has been in operation for 150 million years. How to produce this high-purity water has become another mystery. The rationality of prehistoric reactor designs is perplexing to experts.
Some scientists and theorists believe that nuclear reactors are so advanced that they suggest that knowledgeable beings existed 2 billion years ago. Another hypothesis is that it was built by prehistoric human civilizations (as described in NASA scientists’ Silurian Hypothesis) using techniques lost to humans later.
On the other hand, most mainstream scientists believe that Oklo is the world’s only known naturally occurring reactor created by chance. The concept of a naturally occurring reactor was first described in 1956 utilizing reactor theory or the infinite multiplication constants, as physicists Norman Schwers and John A. Miller of Sandia National Laboratories explain in a 2017 publication.