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The nuclear age might have begun in America, but it was in Gabon where the world’s first fission reaction started.

Gabon is one of the richest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a per capita income four times that of its neighbors. Its economy is dominated by oil, followed by timber and manganese exports. For a brief period, Gabon also exported uranium, the precious raw material used in nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. The mines have dried up today, but nearly two billion years ago there was enough uranium here to cause the rocks to undergo spontaneous nuclear fission.

uranium-235

A billet of highly enriched uranium-235. Photo credit: United States Department of Energy


© Amusing Planet, 2019.


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