Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"Oklo: Natural Nuclear Reactors"

I did not know such a thing was possible.

Creating a nuclear reaction is not simple. In power plants, it involves splitting uranium atoms, and that process releases energy as heat and neutrons that go on to cause other atoms to split. This splitting process is called nuclear fission. In a power plant, sustaining the process of splitting atoms requires the involvement of many scientists and technicians.

It came as a great surprise to most, therefore, when, in 1972, French physicist Francis Perrin declared that nature had beaten humans to the punch by creating the world’s first nuclear reactors. Indeed, he argued, nature had a two-billion-year head start.

If nature can make nuclear reactors, operate them for a couple billion years, and keep the waste stored safely away for practically forever -- well, that just about destroys any argument that nucelar energy is unsafe.

I say, build more reactors. Fire them up. And let's clean up our air for good.

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