NASA partners with Global Energy Corporation to develop 10kW Hybrid Reactor Generator

  • I'd not be too quick to suppose that even electron capture decay rates are influenced by environment, though there is perfectly good theory to indicate this might be true:

    I too would not expect large effects, as temperature effects are within 0.1eV. Of course induced orbit reconfigurations can have larger deltas, but still in the some eV range. Some nuclear resonances start at > 1 keV typically after > 10keV. This coarsely shows the % relation we have to expect.

    Thus, definitely, temperature is no help for nuclear waste remediation... I would look for orbit resonances in the soft X-ray range.

    There are other, more important effects like the perturbation of magnetic resonances, which could be much lower at a few kelvin.

  • Nice quote from the paper reporting a null EC result [1]:

    Quite recently, however, measurements have been reported claiming relatively large changes in half lives for α, β−, β+ and ec decays depending on whether the radioactive parent was placed in an insulating or conducting host material, and whether the latter was at room temperature or cooled to 12K. Specifically, 210Po, an α emitter, when implanted in copper was reported to exhibit a half life shorter by 6.3(14)% at 12K than at room temperature [3]; the β− emitter 198Au in a gold host reportedly had a half-life longer by 3.6(10)% at 12K [4]; 22Na, which decays predominantly (90%) by β+ emission, was measured as having a 1.2(2)% shorter half life at 12K [5]; and 7Be, which decays by pure electron capture, apparently had a half-life longer by 0.9(2)% at 12K in palladium and by 0.7(2)% in indium [6].

    That is to say, in mainstream scientific publications, several positive reports of significantly altering the half-lives of radionuclides, including one in which the alpha emitter 210Po saw a change of 6.3 percent in its half-life under specific conditions, partly as a result of variation in temperature. Needless to say, 6.3 percent is a considerable change.

    It is hard to think of an approach less promising on its face for altering the half-life of a radioisotope than cooling it down, other than, perhaps, putting the material under pressure, which has also been attempted, nonetheless with small but positive results. For some reason I never see attempts at using electric discharge, the approach that most readily comes to mind, in mainstream reports, perhaps because it introduces difficulties in measurement that will make it hard to draw firm conclusions.

    Recall in all of this that the process of fission is very similar to that of alpha decay.


  • My take-home from that paper is that some at least of the positive results, when more carefully remeasured, proved null.

    Which does not mean that there are no positive results, just that these small changes are problematic to measure and we should be cautious in anything built on them at this moment.

  • Eric Walker

    change in halflife for me is probably essential observation for LENR, as one of the key mystery is how energy at the scale of outer electron orbits (eV) can interfere probably with nuclei (MeV)...

    Some like WLS propose weak interaction, but it is already 0.78MeV.

    My naive conviction is that something passing by electrons orbits is connecting many nuclei, allowing a collective state between nuclei far away... I know this does nor convince many people. I'm not so fan of deep orbits, but maybe it is par of the explanation too, explaining half-life change under low energy... Maybe deep-breather are involved to cause orbit changes...

    Something considered impossible is happening in LENR, and electron-nuclei connection may be that thing.

  • My take-home from that paper is that some at least of the positive results, when more carefully remeasured, proved null.

    Surely. But which ones, and for what reasons, and using which approaches? As I said, if one were to think through the matter in advance, it's hard to think up what one would anticipate would be a less effective way to alter decay rates than to cool the radionuclide down (except perhaps to apply pressure, which also sounds like it would be very ineffective).

    The result in the study of 97Ru was not a null result of a radionuclide for which another group had reported seeing a variation in the rate of electron capture. It was I understand a null result of applying a theory of a "Debeye plasma" to an EC radionuclide using an approach I was surprised to learn even worked in other cases.

    An expectation that all of the more significant mainstream results are in fact null ones despite appearances to the contrary would strike me as a forlorn one, if one were to entertain it. One should further factor in similar LENR experiments in setting one's expectations. There is a dynamic tension at play here between what experiments are saying, on on hand, and, on the other hand, (1) theoretical expectations (perhaps assumptions, more accurately), and (2) public claims physicists have been making for decades about decay rates being constant (with inadequate experimental basis for such confidence, I think). Wrapped up in all of this is the science of radiometric dating that would be unsettled should more of these experiments gain a foothold. The LENR experiments suggest that the sky is the limit as to where the variability in decay rates could go.

    I'm reminded of the Wendt and Irion experiment and possibly the Paneth and Peters one from the early 1900s, both of which might be retroactively interpreted as acceleration of alpha decay.

  • 1. Does he say this was not a mistake, and it is the proper technique to set the calibration constant after excess heat begins?


    2. Does he say even though this was a mistake, and even though Lewis actually observed excess heat, his results still cast doubt on the work of Fleischmann, Pons, Bockris, Storms and the 92 institutions the replicated by mid-1990? That would be a strange thing to say!

    Again, the historical reference was only to show that mainstream science demonstrated enthusiastic willingness to consider the possibility of cold fusion, and only became negative towards it after the evidence had been examined, and the question of the mistake doesn't affect that point.

    But for what it's worth, the question of the anomalous heat in Lewis's experiment was reconsidered by the editor, a reviewer, and Lewis, in response to the objections you have raised, and they were not persuaded.

    I consider the likelihood that they are wrong extremely remote, and the likelihood that they were deliberately suppressing knowledge of an effect remoter still. There is no conceivable motive for such a suppression. If they had thought cold fusion real, they would have known with near certainty that it could not be suppressed indefinitely. And, under those circumstance, whatever they might have stood to lose by the success of cold fusion (if anything), it would have paled in comparison to the destruction of their careers that would have resulted if such suppression were exposed following the inevitable vindication of cold fusion. So they must have had utmost confidence that cold fusion was not real.

  • It is ironic that the "big three" negative experiments in 1989 that supposedly disproved cold fusion were actually some of the best proof that it is real.

    This is an excellent encapsulation of the pathetic and delusional state of cold fusion advocacy.

    That your best defense of the reality of cold fusion is an attack on three 30-year-old negative claims, rather than a promotion of positive claims demonstrates the weakness in the positive claims. No one would care about those negative claims if you could cite a killer experiment that any qualified scientist could perform to prove cold fusion unambiguously. The two DOE panels did not rely only on those 3 negative claims, but considered all the evidence. The 2004 reviews in fact make no reference (that I found) to the 3 negative claims. They considered the best evidence presented to them by advocates, and still found it unpersuasive. Maybe they should have given them the 3 negative papers instead.

    The Nature editor said as much in his letter at the time: you will never convince the world with contrived re-analyses of Lewis's experiment. The best way to get attention is to design a better experiment. But 30 years later, you're still trying to convince the world with re-analyses of Lewis's results. What better indication that there has been essentially no progress in the field?

    One of the arguments often made against the early negative claims is that they didn't leave enough time to get the necessary deuterium loading. I guess your statement renders such arguments completely irrelevant.

    Of course, the only reason there could be controversy about these experiments, where advocates argue Lewis actually saw excess heat, and Lewis argues P&F actually didn't (in a paper in Science) is because the amount of claimed excess power just happens to fall right in the range of possible artifacts or calibration shifts and so on. The excess power from the MIT experiment, based on the unadjusted data, is only about 30 mW, essentially in the noise according to Storms. As you said in 2001, "calorimetric errors and artifacts are more common than researchers realize". In fact, you yourself said of the MIT results in 2011 in vortex: "I doubt the original was a genuine positive, so who cares if they lied about it?" And now you say it's among the best proof its real. With advocates like you....

    That the results never stand out (or that input energy is always required) is an implausible coincidence. Whether it's D-Pd or Ni-H, whether it's electrolysis or gas loading, whether it's tritium at million times lower rate, or neutrons at a billion times lower, the results are never definitive. It screams pathological science, and has done for 30 years.


    Going on right now.

    I looked briefly at some of the accompanying material, and I'm confused. Maybe someone who has followed it closely can clear it up.

    The "Kilopower project" mentions NASA and DOE's NNSA, but not GEC. The description of the prototype mentions highly enriched fuel, and nothing about sub-critical fission induced by neutrons. A fusion/fission hybrid does not need highly enriched fuel. It sounds more like conventional fission.

    Could the GEC agreement be some kind of peripheral project associated with this?

  • ... "and the last report I've seen is from 1998 ..."

    Report is 2017

    [Believers & Unbelievers are prone cherry picking or negleting a bit too much. Ever.]

    Whatever this was, it was not cherry picking, because I hadn't seen that report, and I included the catch-all disclaimer.

    More importantly, the full sentence provides the context of the LANL tritium project, treating the 1998 paper as a kind of last word on *that* project. (And there may be later ones, but I haven't seen them.)

    I am aware that Claytor continued to do some work with tritium after his retirement in 2012, some in connection with Brillouin, and this latest work with IH funding. He does acknowledge LANL in the slides, presumably for infrastructure support as an alumnus, but I don't think it's a LANL project as such. (Moreover, notwithstanding your previous link, which I did not find on the site, a search at that site for LENR or cold fusion comes up empty.)

  • You are not familiar with the detailed history of those weeks. [...] I know a more about this than you do. I say you are wrong. You are no position to dispute what I say.

    This is your argument? "I know more than you, and you're wrong, so shut up!"

    I have read many accounts of the first few weeks after the press conference, including the detailed one from Storms, who is as informed as you, and every account is consistent in describing the prevailing sentiment as enthusiastically positive. Storms called it a "huge bubble of enthusiasm" and described frantic activity all over the world. Seven thousand cheering scientists at what some called the "woodstock of chemistry" (the ACS meeting) 3 weeks after the press conference is an indication of optimism, not pessimism. The glowing words used at congress, where "anything less than enthusiasm would have seemed almost unpatriotic", clearly support this picture.

    And the thing is that *nothing* you have cited or quoted contradicts this picture.

    I know that some were skeptical from the start, and some may have been vocal, but they were drowned out by the huge bubble of enthusiasm.


    Many of your statements and timelines are factually wrong. For example, you say that Mallove's collection of nasty quotes were made long after cold fusion began.

    That's not an example of a factually wrong statement. I said the quotes post-dated the honeymoon period, which was until the evidence was examined, something like the first 3 - 5 weeks after the press conference. The quotations you cited were dated, and the earliest one was April 30, 5 weeks after the press conference. And it was in an editorial that criticized the process (Utah Fusion Circus) while admitting "the claims of cold fusion could still turn out to be right."


    Some were, but many were within days or weeks of the press conference.

    Well, I guess 5 weeks is 35 days... That does not contradict what I said.


    So was the MIT poster celebrating the Death of Cold Fusion.

    The MIT poster I've seen announces a wake on June 26, 3 months after the press conference.

    So, far your examples of errors in fact are zero for three.


    You also think that Fleischmann was pleased with the press conference. Apparently you base that on what you take as his facial expression. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a great deal of original source material -- such as letters and comments by Fleischmann in the files at the U. Utah library special collection -- showing that he was dreading the outcome.

    Well, this is kind of peripheral to my claim, and doesn't contradict it either way, but I'd be interested in seeing a specific quotation from Fleischmann recorded at the time that supports this. So far, the only thing you've actually cited was an account given years later. And there's a quotation from New Energy Times of Fleischmann at the time where he says: "What we have done is to open the door of a new research area, our indications are that the discovery will be relatively easy to make into a usable technology for generating heat and power..." That sounds optimistic. If he really thought it would be easy to make it practical, then he could not have also thought it would be dismissed.

    Zero for four.

  • Louis Reed wrote: "Yea, well, not that it matters for this point, but your count is wrong. They were unanimous in recommending no special funding for the field,"

    That is incorrect. First because 6 panel members did recommend funding, as you see in their papers. The recommendations were not unanimous. Second, the DoE itself recommended funding, but then it reneged. It did not call it "special funding" but it did recommended funding.

    And now you've completed the deflection into quibbling about a contrived score sheet, by not even addressing the reason the panel I cited the panel, which was to show that there was doubt about cold fusion.

    But I'll play along, or what's an internet forum for?

    The summary statement, which would have been signed off by all the members states:

    "No reviewer recommended a focused federally funded program for low energy nuclear reactions."

    The original ERAB panel contained:

    "The Panel recommends against any special funding for the investigation of phenomena attributed to cold fusion. Hence, we recommend against the establishment of special programs or research centers to develop cold fusion."

    So, when I said "special funding", I referred to a special allocation of funds for the field. As I said, no one recommended such special funding.

    As for recommending support based on what was before them, by my reading, only one explicitly recommended funding (R9: further work should be funded by US funding agencies). Three others gave sort of implicit recommendations (R4: unless effort is made in a funded lab, there will be only conference reports; R6: better experiments could be done; R17: Is there a case for continued efforts? Weak Yes.)

    The summary statement also contains,

    "The nearly unanimous opinion of the reviewers was that funding agencies should entertain individual, well-designed proposals for experiments that address specific scientific issues..."

    That however, is not a pledge of funds. Rather it is a statement of the obvious, given that that is the role of funding agencies. If the DOE did not fund proposals subsequent to this, it is presumably because they were not competitive, or were not considered well-designed proposals to address specific issues.

  • Again, the historical reference was only to show that mainstream science demonstrated enthusiastic willingness to consider the possibility of cold fusion, and only became negative towards it after the evidence had been examined, and the question of the mistake doesn't affect that point.

    If the consideration you describe was mistaken, then of course this mistake affects the point! A technical determination made in error has no merit.

    But for what it's worth, the question of the anomalous heat in Lewis's experiment was reconsidered by the editor, a reviewer, and Lewis, in response to the objections you have raised, and they were not persuaded.

    They were mistaken. You can read what they wrote here, and see that for yourself:

    I consider the likelihood that they are wrong extremely remote, and the likelihood that they were deliberately suppressing knowledge of an effect remoter still.

    So, you see no problem with establishing the calibration constant after excess heat begins? You think this not a mistake -- or that it is extremely remote it is a mistake? I think you do not understand what we are talking about here. You keep referring to public opinion. Why don't you tell us your technical opinion, instead? You have not explained why it is okay to establish the calibration constant after excess heat begins. Do you understand why this skews the curve, giving the wrong answer? Or can you show why it does not skew the curve?

    Look, this is simple. Let's go through it one step at a time.

    Suppose the cell calibration constant is 2.5°C/W. But, you don't know that; you plan to measure the constant.

    You input 10 W, and the temperature rises 25°C above ambient. If you measure the constant now, you get the right answer: 25/10 = 2.5°C/W. But you don't measure it. You wait a few days.

    Later, unbeknownst to you, 1 W of anomalous excess heat appears. The temperature rises to 27.5°C. At that point, you decide to measure the constant, and it comes out 2.75°C/W.

    Later, the excess heat goes away. The temperature drops back to 25°C. If you apply your calibration constant, you compute that 10 W are going into the cell, 9 W are coming out, and 1 W is vanishing. That is impossible. So how would you explain it?

    Lewis et al. explained it by saying the calibration constant had changed. However they did not say why it changed, or how it changed. With other calorimeters of this type, it does not change. If it did change, that means their equipment was faulty, so they should have done the experiment over from the start. Other researchers with similar equipment calibrate before and after the test, and they see no change. Lewis should have recalibrated with joule heating. If he had done that, he would have seen that the constant had not changed, and there was excess heat.

    Explain why you disagree.