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Weathering Conditions and Behavior of Fission Products in Oklo Reactors

  • L. Pourcelot (a1) and F. Gauthier-Lafaye (a1)

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Two billion years ago, natural fission reactions occured in the uranium ore deposit of Oklo (Gabon), mainly due to the high concentrations of fissile 235U. At that time, high uranium contents (40-60 % U) allowed reaching criticality when oxidised uranium bearing fluids met reduced fluids accompanying the migration of hydrocarbons. Natural fission reactors consist of a core made of uraninite crystals embedded in a clay matrix (mainly chlorites). The thickness of the clay layer range between few centimetres to 2 meters. Fission products are mostly located in the uraninite grains but newly crystallised minerals such as phosphate minerals, clays and metallic aggregates retain some proportions of migrated fissiogenic elements [1].

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1 Gauthier-Lafaye, F., Holliger, P. and Blanc, P. L., Geoch. et Cosmoch. Acta 60, p. 4831 (1996).
2 Pourcelot, L., PhD thesis dissertation, Universitd Strasbourg ULP France, 200 p. (1997).
3 Nagy, B., Gauthier-Lafaye, F., Holliger, P., Mossman, D., Leventhal, J., and Rigali, M., Role of organic matter in the proterozoic Oklo natural fission reactors, Gabon, Africa., Geology. 21, p. 655658 (1993).
4 Bros, R., Turpin, L., Gauthier-Lafaye, F., Holliger, Ph. and Stille, P., Geoch. Cosmoch. Acta, 57, p. 13511356 (1993).
5 Holliger, Ph., Louvat, D., Landais, P., Kruge, M. and Ruau, O., EUR 17614, Euroffice (1997).
6 J, J. Janeczek. and Ewing, R.C., Florencite-La with fissiogenic REE from a natural fission reactor at Bangombd, Gabon, Am. Mineral., 81, p. 12631276 (1996).

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Weathering Conditions and Behavior of Fission Products in Oklo Reactors

  • L. Pourcelot (a1) and F. Gauthier-Lafaye (a1)

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