Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Probative Cognition: Impossible Patterns And Materials That Aren't Supposed To Exist

oakridger  |  “If nuclear fission can occur naturally near the surface, why wouldn’t it occur deep in the earth?” Hollenbach asked.

Using SCALE nuclear safety analysis codes, Hollenbach simulated a georeactor that would function as a fast neutron breeder reactor and have an energy output (under 3 terawatts) that would enable it to heat the planet’s core and power its magnetic field for 4.5 billion years, the widely accepted age of Earth. The initial density and relative abundance of uranium isotopes that he assumed for his simulation were based on what is determined to be present in a certain kind of meteor that is almost oxygen-free (as Earth was during its formation).

By absorbing neutrons, the uranium isotope U-235 would break into lighter elements more readily than the much more abundant uranium isotope U-238, releasing considerable heat energy and neutrons that will trigger more fission, or self-sustaining chain reactions. Free neutrons absorbed by U-238 nuclei can cause the formation of plutonium-239, another nuclear fuel. This process, known as breeding, can significantly extend the lifetime of a nuclear reactor. 

Hollenbach’s calculations also generated data on the fission products that would result from uranium fission deep within Earth, as well as from radioactive decay. He showed that two helium isotopes, He-3 and He-4, would be produced in the same relative proportion by georeactors as helium isotopes found in basalt extruded from volcanic lavas in Hawaii and Iceland. Because helium is a light noble gas that does not react with other materials, it could migrate from a georeactor to hot spots on Earth’s surface. “The only way helium is produced on the Earth is through fission or decay of heavy elements,” he said.

When helium was first discovered in the 1960s on Earth’s surface, it was assumed that helium gas in space was trapped in the surface during Earth’s formation. Hollenbach said trapped helium would have outgassed during Earth’s molten stage. He found that the ratio of He-3 to He-4 at the surface corresponds to the ratio calculated to be produced by deep-Earth fission. It’s not the same as the ratio of helium isotopes formed in the air by cosmic rays (which is up to 34 times lower). 

Because most fission products are lighter and less dense than nuclear fuel in a georeactor, Hollenbach said, they most likely migrate away from a georeactor after accumulating there. As a result, the georeactor’s energy output will stop decreasing and start to rise again.

The Earth’s magnetic field varies in strength and has flipped its polarity over millions of years. These changes, he suggested, could be explained by georeactors that turn on and off. 

“The cyclic nature of geomagnetic field reversals and periodic high volcanic and plate tectonic activity indicate a varied power source,” he said.

If beryllium-10 and certain noble gases were discovered in deep mantle magmas and volcanic lavas and if anti-neutrinos could be detected, such evidence would help validate the georeactor model, he added. A FORNL participant suggested that Hollenbach confer with researchers at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica. 

Hollenback asserted that an even better understanding of georeactors could be attained through simulations using advanced software on today’s supercomputers — if funding for such a study is available.