Friday, April 08, 2005

U.S. Benchmarks Africa for Most Forward Looking Project Ever -

Nowhere in the media have I seen a similar headline yet. My guess of why not has more to do with lack of media realization that 10,000 years actually sets a documented public record for forward looking projects than it has to do with surprise that a relatively backward continent is home to any benchmark worth reproducing in the United States (obviously incorrect).

After Rickover launched nuclear subs (the most technologically sophisticated, mobile platforms in existence) he testified before congress that their useful life expectancy would be about 25 years. What can mankind do intentionally that requires planning 10,000 years ahead? Even burial monuments rarely last 250 years (the great pyramids being notable exceptions).

First, what about Africa? According to the CIA World Factbook on Gabon:
“President BONGO…. low turnout and allegations of electoral fraud during the most recent local elections (ed. So far, this sounds familiar) …a small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous and stable African countries. ….. Despite the abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management hobbles the economy (ed. So, a hobbled economy is still one of the more prosperous in Africa). …petroleum, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower … have helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthier countries...”

The U.S. benchmark (Nukes probably already know some of this from Power School): Oklo, Gabon- Natural Nuclear Reactors. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain Project:
By 1972, fifteen natural fission reactors had been found in three different ore deposits at the Oklo mine in Gabon, West Africa. Once these natural reactors shut down, their highly radioactive waste products were held safely in place by surrounding granite, sandstone, and clay formations deep under Oklo. Plutonium, for example, moved less than 10 feet from where it was formed almost two billion years ago.Rock types and other geology at Oklo differ from Yucca Mountain, but Oklo still sheds light on facts that cannot be duplicated in laboratories. By analyzing remnants of the ancient reactors and understanding how underground rock formations contained highly radioactive wastes, scientists hope to apply their findings to modern nuclear waste for 10,000 years, as some have testified before Congress.


At 08 April, 2005 22:10, Blogger bothenook said...

africa isn't the only place with "natural reactors". apparently there was at least one in russia, that is still cooking. it's done some serious groundwater contamination. about like what you'd find at balston spa, on tap!


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