The Oklo natural reactor: Cumulative fission yields and retentivity of the symmetric mass region fission products
Solid source mass spectrometry has been used to determine the relative cumulative fission yields of five elements in three samples of uranium ore from reactor zones in the Oklo mine site. Eighteen fission chains covering the mass range from 105 ≤ A ≤ 130 have been measured for Pd, Ag, Cd, Sn and Te. These measurements have enabled a number of nuclear parameters to be calculated including the relative proportions of 235U, 238U and 239Pu involved in the fission process. The concentration of the five elements in the Oklo samples have also been measured using the stable isotope dilution technique. These values have then been compared to the estimates of the amount of these elements produced by fission under the conditions that are appropriate to the three samples. This procedure enables the retentivity of the elements in the reactor zones to be evaluated. Our work confirms the fact that Pd and Te are retained almost in their entirety in the samples, whereas the other three elements have been partially lost from the reactor site. Almost all the Cd fission products have been lost, and more than 50% of the Ag and Sn fission-produced material has been removed.