Search for other natural fission reactors

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Precambrian uranium ores have been surveyed for evidence of other natural fission reactors. The requirements for formation of a natural reactor direct investigations to uranium deposits with large, high-grade ore zones. Massive zones with volumes approximately greater than 1 m/sup 3/ and concentrations approximately greater than 20 percent uranium are likely places for a fossil reactor if they are approximately greater than 0.6 b.a. old and if they contained sufficient water but lacked neutron-absorbing impurities. While uranium deposits of northern Canada and northern Australia have received most attention, ore samples have been obtained from the following worldwide locations: the Shinkolobwe ... continued below

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Pages: 15

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Apt, K.E.; Balagna, J.P.; Bryant, E.A.; Cowan, G.A.; Daniels, W.R. & Vidale, R.J. January 1, 1977.

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Description

Precambrian uranium ores have been surveyed for evidence of other natural fission reactors. The requirements for formation of a natural reactor direct investigations to uranium deposits with large, high-grade ore zones. Massive zones with volumes approximately greater than 1 m/sup 3/ and concentrations approximately greater than 20 percent uranium are likely places for a fossil reactor if they are approximately greater than 0.6 b.a. old and if they contained sufficient water but lacked neutron-absorbing impurities. While uranium deposits of northern Canada and northern Australia have received most attention, ore samples have been obtained from the following worldwide locations: the Shinkolobwe and Katanga regions of Zaire; Southwest Africa; Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; the Jabiluka, Nabarlek, Koongarra, Ranger, and El Sharana ore bodies of the Northern Territory, Australia; the Beaverlodge, Maurice Bay, Key Lake, Cluff Lake, and Rabbit Lake ore bodies and the Great Bear Lake region, Canada. The ore samples were tested for isotopic variations in uranium, neodymium, samarium, and ruthenium which would indicate natural fission. Isotopic anomalies were not detected. Criticality was not achieved in these deposits because they did not have sufficient /sup 235/U content (a function of age and total uranium content) and/or because they had significant impurities and insufficient moderation. A uranium mill monitoring technique has been considered where the ''yellowcake'' output from appropriate mills would be monitored for isotopic alterations indicative of the exhumation and processing of a natural reactor.

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Pages: 15

Notes

Dep. NTIS, PC A02/MF A01.

Source

  • IAEA symposium on natural fission reactors, Paris, France, 19 Dec 1977

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-77-2796
  • Report No.: CONF-771222-6
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5157401
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1058468

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • January 1, 1977

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Jan. 22, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

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  • Feb. 2, 2018, 2:43 p.m.

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Apt, K.E.; Balagna, J.P.; Bryant, E.A.; Cowan, G.A.; Daniels, W.R. & Vidale, R.J. Search for other natural fission reactors, article, January 1, 1977; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1058468/: accessed August 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.