October 29, 2009: A team of scientists has proposed that 2.5 to 3 million years ago Earth was littered with tiny nuclear reactors, similar to the natural nuclear fission reactors at Oklo in Gabon. These reactors might have been created when the newly oxygenated oceans began to dissolve a volcanically produced mineral named uraninite, which released uranium which began to accumulate in coastal regions. Once a baseball-sized amount of uranium accumulated, it would have triggered a nuclear chain reaction.
Game and Story Use
- Maybe life forms evolved on ancient Earth (or arrived from elsewhere) which fed on the energy of these natural nuclear reactors. Maybe some of them still lie dormant within the Earth's crust - ready to feed on modern nuclear power plant or processing installations for fissile material (such as those owned by Iran and North Korea). And thus, the PCs get to fight radioactive monsters…
- In a science fiction campaign, such naturally-occurring nuclear reactors might be a feature of an alien planet. What complications might that present for space explorers/colonists?
- Maybe the Elder Things were just sloppy about waste disposal. Again.