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And, indeed, this sacrifice practice seems to have been the case throughout the centuries. In AC1000, 50 rad force has already been drained from the prime. This corresponds to no more than 50 years of Radiance use without a life force to fuel the Nucleus -- possibly less, since any year with 6 or more radiance users (as in the case of AC1000) drains 2 or more rad force if the Nucleus lacks a life force to power it. But we know that the Radiance has been discovered as early as 395AC (from the Glantri timeline in GAZ3), i.e. 605 years before AC1000, so almost all the time since then it must have been fueled by imprisoned life force. This is particularly true after the first few years, in which the first discoverer(s) were still struggling to understand its powers and none had yet managed to cast Trascend Life Force.
Then why all the fuss? Well. Perhaps, Rad in his haste has lost a few rads now and then, i.e. has allowed the Nucleus to very occasionally run unfueled by a life force. Nothing has come of it yet, but Ixion worries about the danger (every rad drained is one more step towards annihilation of Energy from the Prime) or perhaps by just more subtle effects that have no in-game mechanical effects but are there nonetheless.
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Also it strikes me as cynically evil (at best) to "allow" a quota of wizards to fuel it with their life force. But that might also be the solution. If life force can fuel it, can life force recharge it? If a spell can fuel it with wizard life force, could a spell be devised to fuel or recharge it with non-wizard life force? I'm sure there is a steady supply of criminals to be executed, and just one criminal a year would keep it going perpetually.
Lizards are polyphyodonts and thus continuously regrow teeth, with one tooth being replaced every few months. Crocodiles replace all their teeth annually. So maybe its not an issue for the Star Dragon, her lair could be littered with discarded teeth.