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Oklo, the Two Billion Year Old Nuclear Reactor

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SciShow takes you to a uranium deposit in Africa where, eons ago, a unique set of conditions came together to form the world’s only known natural nuclear reactor. Check it out! No radiation suit required! Hosted by: Hank Green ---------- Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records: http://dftba.com/scishow Or help support us by subscribing to our page on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow ---------- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Thanks Tank Tumblr: http://thankstank.tumblr.com Sources:
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Text Comments (2356)
Plott Hound (1 day ago)
kurt lindner (2 days ago)
Even the Earth is in favor of intelligently applied nuclear power.
ginnyjollykidd (2 days ago)
BREATHE!!! Your announcing voice is way too quick and needs a second or two length of breaks. Make about 3 breaks to keep from scrambling people's brains! Please!
David Elliott (8 days ago)
"nature created a nuclear reactor before we did"..... Stars are nuclear reactors who arrived billions of years before the earth made one.
TheSoljaOfTime Gaming (9 days ago)
Mind blown
Infinite Rage (13 days ago)
wait, is this nig john green's brother?
Paracelsus (14 days ago)
There is another one of these in France and there is good evidence to suggest members of the fuger dynasty were shown this place and studied it , leading to some of the first understandings of synthesis and nuclear science . The history of Rennes should reveal these little know acts to any who are interested in substantiating it .
Cat22 (18 days ago)
I think you need to talk faster with more gestures
Tim Rohrbach (19 days ago)
Why does this guy look a little like and act a lot like Rachel Maddow?
Brillo Pad (20 days ago)
You forgot to include the role that algae played in moderating the neutron flux.
Kazuyoshi Mishimura (20 days ago)
Now i know how to build a nuclear reactor in my backyard haha
netdog713 (20 days ago)
can you talk faster please
Miluik Powell (24 days ago)
Seem like a lost civilization technology
Wersium (24 days ago)
Nature mocking humans.
notquiteordinary (1 month ago)
So it decomposed, and it does so faster than scientists thought. This bs about a reactor is bs
Joe Rice (1 month ago)
but nuclear reactors are evil things sent by the devil. How could one have been around 2 billion years ago?
Volvirth (1 month ago)
Someone was just bug-testing nuclear fission a few hundred million years back. :)
Ooberham69 (1 month ago)
what about the waste. where did are that radioactive water go?
h8GWBî (1 month ago)
Well, unless you believe in the rediculous woo called "Water Memory", water hardly becomes radioative just because it's cooling a reactor. Maybe you're asking about what happens to any radioactive materials that could possibly by carried away by water?
ZheDong (1 month ago)
uhh.. aliens build that reactor fyi
skillerftwerr (1 month ago)
very cool
Kan CK (1 month ago)
so nuclear reactor is not an invention but a discovery?
EDPS Big ass lips (1 month ago)
Next thing ya know theres gonna be a natural nuclear bomb
Ro Ro (1 month ago)
Ismael (1 month ago)
Just coming back in here after a year or so to say the thumbnail is actually an ancient toilet with nuclear turds
Anarchist from Canada (1 month ago)
They don't use rods of uranium anymore, that was a very long time ago.
lazyidiotofthemonth (1 month ago)
their ratios are wildly wrong. commercial plants typically use 15-40% U 235/U238 ratios, and military reactors use even higher ratios.
christian anguiano (1 month ago)
It was stolen this is a cover up
KuroTeki (1 month ago)
Breaking: nature has secretly been constructing nuclear bombs and are preparing to fire.
Katie Wahl (1 month ago)
Or, and hear me out on this one: a time traveler got caught in the past and without access to sophisticated tools needed to create this energy source to get home.
Jonathan Vogel (1 month ago)
It would give off a bit of heat if its true and wasnt designed by nature , nature doesnt design .
John Q. Sample (2 months ago)
Dan S (2 months ago)
I got uranium in my cracker jack box once, I got to visit the factory! Yeah!
Actually, it was the preflood generation of people, way back in Noah's day, who were aided by the fallen angels and the nephilims,produced this nuclear reactor for producing preflood nuclear technology or even preflood nuclear weapons for nuclear wars. I totally believe advanced civilization existed before the great deluge. Of course the flood wiped out their advanced sciences and maths leaving nothing behind, but buried deep underneath tens of thousands of feet under the continental shelves.
Jason Swearingen (2 months ago)
A serious question for you. I know I could google this, but... When Hahn and Meitner realized the splitting of the Uranium nucleus, why was Ba found? Ba is an excellent reflector of x-rays. Another thing about U fission I want to know more about, are the seven transuranic elements. But Ba isn't one of them. Any answers or links to publicly released research(peer reviewed please), would be very helpful. An aside, I am really enjoying learning and relearning all knowledge passed on within this medium. Keep up the good work.
Kevin Tanumihardja (2 months ago)
So why restrict or ban nuclear reactors if it's all natural
G P (2 months ago)
Dude, slow down. You're not a washing machine lol
Lord Shoray (2 months ago)
Da Savage (2 months ago)
It's weird to me that humans say things like " It's cool nature figured it out before we did". Like we're not apart of nature or something.
crazeeavery XVII (2 months ago)
And did you know the head of the nuclear program back then said it was impossible to be natural?
Makemehappy (2 months ago)
So hank had huge promise as a youtuber, no he’s on whatever this is, oh hank
44theshadow (2 months ago)
We wuz accidental kangs.
Stephanus Tavilrond (2 months ago)
dudewow1 (2 months ago)
Wtf this guy ....?
James Richardson (2 months ago)
nice diamond plate shirt
Bhabani Sankar (2 months ago)
nature nuke us beneath the surface is known as earth quake
rasecoaoj (2 months ago)
“We” are nature, dumbass
Mexican pine bleach (2 months ago)
Who needs to power a laundromat forever?
CADET HAPPINESS (3 months ago)
nature has always a step ahead of us so we did find the way after million years
tinkmarshino (3 months ago)
sooo if a nuk falls into the ocean it won't go off? just heat the water... and what about power stations why do that use all of that graphite? well side show this was interesting.. you do a good job of telling the story I do enjoy it.. despite my lack of understanding..
drawingboard82 (3 months ago)
Does anyone know why all known Uranium ore has a concentration of about 0.72% u235? This would imply that all the uranium was made at the same time in the same Supernovea about 6-7 Billion Years ago. Since the Earth is only 4-5 Billion years old, that means that, potentially, the cloud of debris the Earth formed from was hanging around for at least one or two billion years. It strikes me as possible that other, newer Uranium created in other Supernovas should have got in on the act...?
God (3 months ago)
It was made by dinosaurs... Trex did have jobs you know other then just killing n hunting that was a passed time ffs!
Monkey The Guru (3 months ago)
Life has not been around for that long
Ugandan Knuckles (3 months ago)
Earth wasn't even created 2 billion years ago
Patrick Tremblay (3 months ago)
4:07 Nature found out how to build a nuclear reactor that cannot meltdown and which keeps the waste already trapped in rocks. Maybe we ought to follow it's example. It doesn't even require control rods and it stops as soon as it runs out of coolant. Boy, do we suck in comparison.
MrSoothingjazz (3 months ago)
I want to know if there is any evidence that the energy was harnessed
SNBeast (3 months ago)
Wait, how does a fluid made of atoms and molecules slow down individual neutrons?
gobzdzilla (3 months ago)
Crazy, now I'm waiting for eight trillion year old world's only known natural quantum computer.
Terry Pilling (3 months ago)
Interestingly, the Oklo reactor provided evidence that the laws of nature do not change over time. See Maurette, Annu. Rev. Nucl. Sci. vol 26, pg 319 (1976), and Shlyakhter, Nature, vol 264, pg 340 (1976), who showed that the Sumerium ratio Sm149/Sm147 is 0.02 instead of the natural 0.9 which allows us to compute the thermal neutron capture crossection of Sm149 billion years ago. It turns out that the crossection (55 +/- 5 kb) was exactly the same as the current value (55 kb) meaning that the capture resonance hasn't shifted over the past two billion years. This means (via a bit of nuclear physics calculations of ground state binding energies) that the strengths of the nuclear and the coulomb forces have not changed more than a few parts in 10^18 per year. I.e. they are constant. See Dyson, Rev. Mod. Phys, vol 51, no. 3, July 1979, for a discussion of the implications of this for the long term future of the universe. Fun stuff!
Rizing Dragon (3 months ago)
Its amazing how the the brain ignores the first "the" before the second the. Read that again...
Stoßtruppen (4 months ago)
guys i am not saying it was aliens but... it was aliens
Brian M (4 months ago)
2nd question , could something similar ,that went naturally unchecked been responsible for the end of the dinosaurs instead of an asteroid
Brian M (4 months ago)
yes i have a question.... how the hell did you manage to talk for 4 minutes without breathing once!! :P
Robert Chavez (4 months ago)
Natural reacter my ass
Hellstorm Cerberus (1 month ago)
Robert Chavez reactor*
Brad Smith (4 months ago)
Oh my. This is going to make a few a environmentalists' heads explode.
Cerial Munic (4 months ago)
So that's what killed the dinosaurs.
Dave B (4 months ago)
**I saw this same story on foxnews but they said the missing uranium was because hillary stole it in the uraniumone deal: It leaked out in her emails. Then trump said he hated black people. again.**
Christopher Hall (4 months ago)
oh please, nature figured it out before we existed
Skinnwalk3r (4 months ago)
seens this video so many times now, still amazes me each time
Ryan Busch (4 months ago)
Time travel destinations
The Spaniel Inquisition (4 months ago)
Face it - this is just a theory, and a pretty far fetched one at that
Ricky Hicks (4 months ago)
Nature found out before we did? We are an expression of nature. We cannot be separated and so there is no objective perspective.
VIPFlight (4 months ago)
good until you said a couple of billion years ago. There is no evidence for the earth being anywhere near that old
Dennis Otte (4 months ago)
Ah, the burden of proof shifts. So what makes you think the dinosaur fossils are fake?
VIPFlight (4 months ago)
if you say so. and dinosaurs existed despite the lack of real ( not plaster models) fossil evidence and so is Santa Claus. Just because it is in a book doesn't mean it is true
Dennis Otte (4 months ago)
The earth is roughly 4 billion years old, the evidence for this is the radiometric age-dating of meteorite. Using another example, the radiometric method and the measurement of lead found in uranium-rich mineral, found that Zircon, the oldest of these minerals, is 4.404 billion years old.
Mitchell Unger (4 months ago)
100kw is really not that much...
James Erickson (4 months ago)
We could use some clotheswashers that last for eons.
EveryBodyKilla G (4 months ago)
Bethesda CEO: We need a New Game Now! Developer: (Watching this Video) Developer: How about: "Fallout: Primal"? Bethesda CEO: Your a Genius!
manzoor Athar (4 months ago)
well well well nature has evidently figured it out way before life on earth ever existed... just look at sun.
Hellstorm Cerberus (1 month ago)
manzoor Athar the sun uses fusion not fission.
Brad Etre (4 months ago)
we've found a way to power our time machine when we go back before electricy was made just have it be able to take some of that energy, or time travels built dis
Han Solo (4 months ago)
So many failed attemptes to make smart joke in comment. People are pathetic.
Guillermo Jimenez (4 months ago)
Are you sure it was nature?
askenef (4 months ago)
Your security guard kicked me in the ribs
Hansel Roman (4 months ago)
So it didn't create any waste?
Dave Chambers (4 months ago)
Looks like nature is smarter than people. When our nuclear reactors don't have enough water, they blow up instead of cool down. Maybe we can learn something here.
Bhuvanesh s.k (4 months ago)
Is tht possible tht ..earth core's heat is driven by a slow nuclear fission....
Ethan Wall (4 months ago)
Its nuclei is incorrect. Their nuclei or its nucleus
Lorend Slayward (4 months ago)
I wonder if the U-235 could have disappeared within 10,000 years or so.
Veloved (4 months ago)
4:11 So this is a dose.. that's why i watch this dose on daily basis..
JT Mikalic (4 months ago)
stick figure
The Epic Show (4 months ago)
Imagine just random nuclear explosions occuring naturally... lol wonder what the dinos thought bout that
Pudge Boyardee (4 months ago)
Its a steam engine. The fuel is exotic, sure but its just a nuclear geyser at its heart.
Anand Deshmukh (5 months ago)
Its 100% true then God Is Really present everywhere from the start of Everyrhing.
Nicole Watamaniuk (4 months ago)
He literally just explained how this could happen naturally. It's proof against god if anything.
Leo Weo (5 months ago)
This guy is like an annoying lesbian...
Clorox Del Bleach (5 months ago)
Ah yes, Uranium-235
Waset El Bey (5 months ago)
It was sold to N Korea by Rumsfeld
Shawna Wolfe (5 months ago)
Worlds first fission reactor will open in France in 2025. Planned in the 1980s. So with technology to build fission plants why did we keep building fusion plants? And narrator wear a white shirt and open a couple buttons, it will help so you dont look like you are on big bang theory
Leech Little (5 months ago)
Why did this intro remind me of the good eats intro?
Adam Winkelmann (5 months ago)
Mmm, yellow cake... reactor
vesna talan (5 months ago)
why are we left with nuclear waste, but the naturally occurring phenomenon does not? or does it?
DeathsHood (5 months ago)
The waste products are ridiculously short-lived by comparison to how long ago the reaction took place. The Strontium-90 and Cesium-137 waste has a half life around 30 years, and Plutonium-239 has a half-life around 24'000. The Oklo reactor is 2 *billion* years old. There would be so little waste left by that point you'd barely be able to detect anything, other than the stable left-overs from the radioactive decay.
Brian Greul (5 months ago)
oh I thought this was going to show us something.... this is just a geeky monologue with a couple of graphics..... Fail.

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