Friday, October 5, 2007
4:00 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special time.

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"Natural Nuclear Reactor in Oklo"

Alex Meshik , Washington University, St. Louis
[Host: Keith Williams]
Natural nuclear reactors were probably abundant on Earth about 2 billion years ago, but so far only 17 have been found in Equatorial Africa, just a few miles apart from each other. We will talk about how these natural reactors were predicted, searched for and discovered, and how the major characteristics of these reactors have been determined. Then we will show how isotope analyses of fission xenon led to realization of the operational mode of natural reactors and understanding of why the reactors did not explode just after they reached criticality.Finally, we will consider some physical, environmental and geochemical implications of this fascinating natural phenomenon.

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