Is there a Nuclear Reactor at the Center of the Earth?

  • R. D. Schuiling
Conference paper


In this paper we discuss the Herndon hypothesis that a nuclear reactor is operating at the center of the Earth. Recent experimental evidence shows that some uranium can have partitioned into the core. There is no viable mechanism for the small amount of uranium that is dissolved in the molten metal to crystallize as a separate uranium phase (uranium metal or uranium sulfide) and migrate to the center of the core. There is no need for an extra heat source, as the total heat leaving the core can be easily provided by “classical” heat sources, which are also more than adequate to maintain the Earth’s magnetic field. It is unlikely that nuclear georeactors (fast breeder reactors) are operating at the Earth’s center.


Earth’s core heat sources nuclear georeactor meteorites uranium partitioning 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, D.L., Foulger, G.R. and Meibom, A.: 2005, Helium: Fundamental Models. Scholar
  2. Bao, X., Secco, R.A., Gagnon, J.E. and Fryer, B.J.: 2005, Experiments of U solubility in Earth’s core. AGU Abstract.Google Scholar
  3. Birch, F.: 1965, J. Geophys. Res. 70, 6217–6221.Google Scholar
  4. Buffett, B.A.: 2003, Science 299, 1675–1676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buffett, B.A., Garnero, E.J. and Jeanloz, R.: 2000, Science 290, 1338–1342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Feber, R.C., Wallace, T.C. and Libby, L.M.: 1984, EOS 65, 44.Google Scholar
  7. Herndon, J.M.: 1980, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 368, 495–500.Google Scholar
  8. Herndon, J.M.: 1993, J. Geomagn. Geoelectr. 45, 423–437.Google Scholar
  9. Herndon, J.M.: 2005, Teaching earth dynamics: what’s wrong with plate tectonics theory? Scholar
  10. Herndon, J.M. and Edgerley, D.A.: 2005, Background for terrestrial antineutrino investigations: radionuclide distribution, georeactor fission events, and boundary conditions on fission power production. Scholar
  11. Hollenbach, D.F. and Herndon, J.M.: 2001, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Google Scholar
  12. Javoy, M.: 1995, Geophys. Res. Lett. 22, 2219–2222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Malavergne, V., Tarrida, M., Combes, R. and Bureau, H.: 2005, Proceedings Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, XXXVI, p. 1823.Google Scholar
  14. Meibom, A., Anderson, D.L., Sleep, N.H., Frei, R., Chamberlain, C.P., Hren, M.T. and Wooden, J.L.: 2003, EPSL 208, 197–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Melchior, P.: 1986, The Physics of the Earth’s Core. Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  16. Murthy, V.R., van Westrenen, W., and Fei, Y.: 2003, Nature 423, 163–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Schuiling, R.D.: 1975, The earth as a cosmochemical body. Abstr. Ann. Meeting Meteoritics Soc., Tours, France.Google Scholar
  18. Schuiling, R.D., Andriessen, P.A.M., Frapporti, G., Kreulen, R., de Leeuw, J.W., Poorter, R.P.E., de Smeth, J.B., Vergouwen, L., Vriend, S.P., Zuurdeeg, B.W. and Nijenhuis, I.: 1994, Introduction to Geochemistry (6th ed.), 350 pp. Universiteitsdrukkerij Technische Universiteit Delft.Google Scholar
  19. Schuiling, R.D., Jacobs, M.H.G. and Oonk, H.A.J.: 2005, Heat from the Earth’s core; delivery on demand. Unpublished notes.Google Scholar
  20. Sears, D.W.: 1978, The Nature and Origin of Meteorites. Monographs on astronomical subjects 5, Adam Hilger Ltd., 187 pp.Google Scholar
  21. Wanke, H., Dreibus, G. and Jagoutz, E.: 1984, Mantle Chemistry and Accretion History of the Earth. Archean Geochemistry, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 1–24.Google Scholar
  22. Wheeler, K.T., Walker, D., Fei, Y., Minarik, W.G. and McDonough, W.F.: 2006, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 1537–1547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. D. Schuiling
    • 1
  1. 1.Inst. GeosciencesUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations