Briefing on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Research

Working draft, for comment, not approved.

This is to be an Infusion Institute consensus document, a study of the briefing prepared in 2016 by the NRL for Congress. Comments are fully welcome and invited and facts and all arguments will be incorporated, directly or by reference. Correction of errors is especially welcome. Discussion here may be refactored for organizational purposes.

Comments by the editor are in indented italics.

16-F-1333_ DOC_02_LENR_Briefing

p. 1

Briefing on Low-Energy Nuclear
Reactions (LENR) Research
A scientific survey of the international literature in response to the FY16
NOAA (report on HR4909, 4 May 2016)
Office of the ASD(R&E) I Research

House Committee on Armed Services
Briefing Request

The committee is aware of recent positive developments in developing low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which produce ultra-clean, low-cost renewable energy that have strong national security implications. For example, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), if LENR works it will be a “disruptive technology that could revolutionize energy production and storage.” The committee is also aware of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) findings that other countries including China and India are moving forward with LENR programs of their own and that Japan has actually created its own investment fund to promote such technology. DIA has also assessed that Japan and Italy are leaders in the field and that Russia, China, Israel, and India are now devoting significant resources to LENR development. To better understand the national security implications of these
developments, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on the military utility of recent U.S. industrial base LENR advancements to the House Committee on Armed Services by September 22, 2016. This briefing should examine the current state of research in the United States, how that compares to work being done internationally, and an assessment of the type of military applications where this technology could potentially be useful.


Preparation of this Briefing

• The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) was tasked by OSD to conduct a comprehensive survey on the current state of research  on low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) in the US, and an assessment
of the type of military appliications for this technology.

• A comprehensive collection and analysis of international literature
on LENR since 2004 (the last Department of Energy review) was


Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) executive summary

• The United States is active in LENR research in universities,
government labs, industry and private research
• The status of knowledge, evidence, and technology indicates that it
is premature to increase investments in LENR research
• LENR research has been challenged by a lack of reproducibility of
results, and many of the studies have not provided the necessary
scientific and theoretical foundations
• Beyond the lack of reproducible positive results to date, scaling to
meaningful energy production levels must still be addressed.
• If LENR research can successfully provide a reliable energy source,
and the underlying science can be established, it could lead to a
broad variety of military as well as commercial applications such as
a compact, efficient, room temperature, energy source.


U.S. is Well Represented in LENR

[chart showing First Authors by Function and National Affiliation. Given below is the number of papers by nation]

USA [47]
Japan [18]
China [9]
France [9]
Russia [9]
Italy [8]
India [4]
South Korea [2]
UK [2]
Ukraine [2]
Australia [1]
Finland [1]
Germany [1]
Malaysia [1]
New Zealand [1]
Switzerland [1]

That is 115 papers total. Standard for inclusion and period covered, not stated. This is far less useful than a proper study, which would state those things. It is possible that the period is since the 2004 DoE review. The conclusion (U.S. “well represented”) could be valid, but could also be invalid. One person or one small group might create that impression.


Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment for Energy production
Production TRL 9
Full scale development TRL 8
Exploratory development TRL 6

TRL 5 / TRL 4 / TRL3
Technology development TRL2


LENR research: [placed below TRL 1]
Most results have not been reproduced independently;
Lack scientific and theoretical foundations.

Waste of an entire page to make a short and confusing statement. “Most results.” Okay, there are lots of unconfirmed results, that is not controversial. However, some are confirmed to various degrees. There is no examination of the confirmed results in this study. This is all meaningless without a clear definition of “LENR.” Confirmed experimental results are a “scientific foundation” for a new and unexpected effect. Both U.S. DoE reviews recommended further research, which would not have been recommended if there were “no foundation” as claimed here. LENR is a mystery, and without basic research, is likely to remain so.

It seems clear that LENR would be in TRL Level 1. The collection of effects called “LENR” are controversial, and expert opinion has been divided, see the 2004 U.S. DoE review — and that was a flawed review, wherein blatant errors were made, leading to literal misreadings of the claims in the review document. Fundamental research has been poorly funded, generally, but is continuing. This review shows no awareness of that.


LENR proponents claim many potential military applications

This betrays that the authors are considering this a political issue, with “proponents” and … what? “opponents”? In the following paragraph the authors claim what could be potential military applications. Are they “proponents”?

If LENR research can successfully provide a reliable energy source, and
the science can be established, the following could result:
• Abundant, clean energy
• Compact, portable power source
• Inert and nonhazardous
• Processing of radioactive waste

The key word here is “could.” Claims of the characteristics of LENR applications are premature. It seems likely from what we know about LENR that it might be nonhazardous, but as the mechanism is not understood, it might actually be hazardous, it is not yet possible to test the effect adequately to rule that out. This review ignores what is actually known about the effects.

“Processing of nuclear waste” possibilities have been reported but are generally unconfirmed. This report makes no distinction between what is confirmed and unconfirmed. Unconfirmed results, if plausible (i.e., based on properly-done measurements, on the face, etc., deserve confirmation effort, but probably not governmental-level efforts yet, unless the reported techniques appear easy and inexpensive to confirm


Mosier-Boss et al. Final Report 2016

[link added. That is a 131 page pdf. What, exactly, is being cited? This is probably considered representative of what “LENR Proponents” write, but this is circular: if a researcher works on LENR, and reports positive results (i.e., indicating a nuclear effect) they will be considered, ipso facto, a proponent.] 

Energy Density of Fuels

[chart showing mass of fuel for a city of one million people, as 250,000 tons of oil, 400,000 tons of coal, and 60 kg. of “fusion fuel.” That fuel is stated as deuterium and lithium. The fusion reaction considered is deuterium-tritium fusion, and the neutrons that generates (dangerous radiation) converts lithium to tritium. However, D-T fusion is not LENR, this is high-energy fusion. There may be various LENRs; the most-confirmed reaction converts deuterium to helium (totally harmless) with a higher energy yield, experimentally found and confirmed. This clumsiness shows that the report is more or less a quick cut-and-paste.]

[chart from] ]

Nuclear Physics and LENR
• Physics of Nuclear Reactions
• Physical challenges for Nuclear Fusion
• Two LENR research areas:
– Muon-Catalyzed Fusion: Broadly accepted, based on well-understood physics

Yes, Muon-Catalyzed Fusion is well understood and accepted. But this is not what is referred to as LENR, even though it technically is “low-energy.” MCF is the same reaction as is found in high-energy fusion, but catalyzed by muons, so it happens at very low energies. It generates harmful radiation, but is not practical for reasons they cover. Adding all this MCF material, as they do below, simply confuses the report. Did they include MCF papers in their tally of “LENR” papers?

In the field, a more specific term is the Anomalous Heat Effect. MCF is not anomalous, it’s understood. The AHE is also called the “Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect.” (FPHE). However, AHE is a little more general, because gas-loaded palladium is not the FPHE, though the reaction appears to be similar in some ways. The FPHE is an electrolytic effect.

– Electrolytic Cell : Has not been reproduced independently and has
not provided the necessary technical information to provide a
scientific foundation for scalable research.

This (has not been reproduced independently) is utter nonsense, basically repeating a widespread rumor that became established in 1989-1990. The various reported experiments and confirmations have provided a level of scientific foundation, as to the nature of the effect, but not yet as to detailed mechanism. The material conditions are difficult to control, particularly in the electrochemical experiments that are most widely confirmed (in spite of this difficulty), and until the reaction is well under control, scaling up is dangerous and is generally not done.

These authors clearly are not familiar with the literature. It is not that they disagree with it, but that they flat-out don’t know it, so they make statements unlike what someone knowledgeable would make. How is it that this report, for which $50,000 was budgeted, does not involve at least one author with serious knowledge of the field, or at least some review process, with discussion and critique and then a report of the status (including varieties of opinion.) Instead, the Briefing is unattributed opinion, hardly better than rumor.


Physics of Nuclear Reactions

• Definition: a process in which two nuclei, or a nucleus of an
atom and a subatomic particle (such ,as a proton, neutron, or high
energy electron) from outside the atom, collide to produce one
or more nuclides.

This is an example of a common kind of nuclear reaction, not the definition. Nuclear reactions may involve more than one nucleus, as a theoretical possibility. In plasma reactions, that would be very rare, but there is experimental evidence that, in the solid state, multibody reactions (more than two nuclei) actually occur. As well, this description does not include nuclear decay processes. This is a plasma physics approach, betraying the thinking of the authors.

If LENR, they think, therefore two-body reactions. This is very old thinking that denies a world of possibilities. Most “impossibility” arguments regarding LENR involve that assumption.

• A nuclear reaction must cause a transformation of at least one
nuclide to another.

That is better as one characteristic of “nuclear reactions.” It works if nuclear isomers are considered different nuclides. Better than saying “cause” would be “be.” However, nuclear isomers are normally considered the same nuclide at differing excitation levels. The delayed gamma decay of a neutron-activated nucleus is generally considered a nuclear reaction.

• In 1917, Ernest Rutherford demonstrated transmutation of
nitrogen into oxygen at the University of Manchester. This was
the first observation of an induced nuclear reaction, that is, a
reaction in which particles from one decay are used to transform
another atomic nucleus.
• The modern nuclear fission reaction was discovered in 1938 by
the German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann.

This is irrelevant to the topic.


Types of Nuclear Reactions
Nuclear decay
Alpha Decay of a Uranlum-233 nucleus

This is an example. Some examples do not involve a second nucleus as does the U-233 example.

Nuclear fission

Shown is a very complex neutron-induced fission reaction (actually unreadable in the pdf I have). What is the value of this exposition wrt LENR?

Nuclear fusion

Shown is D-T fusion, collision energy not shown, products 4He + 3.5 MeV and a neutron at 14.1 MeV. While there is a SPAWAR report of 14 MeV neutrons, the levels are so low that this could be a very rare branch or secondary reaction of a different main reaction. And this is unconfirmed.

This has very little or nothing to do with the main topic here, LENR. If LENR is real, it is, as Pons and Fleischmann claimed in 1989, an “unknown nuclear reaction.”


This page is a completely irrelevant collection of materials copied about hot fusion reactors and reactions. I am not cleaning it up from the very messy OCR, it is more work than it’s worth.


~ Challenge for Nuclear Fusion:
Squeeze two positive charges together (against the Coulomb repulsion)

This is the standard skeptical argument, that LENR must accomplish this “squeezing.” LENR is a mystery, we don’t know how it works. The best evidence, most widely confirmed, strongly indicates that the reaction is converting deuterium to helium, but how this is done is unknown. “Squeezing two positive charges together” indeed seems unlikely, for the obvious reasons that they cover, but we don’t know that this is what is happening. They cover cluster fusion later, but don’t seem to realize that this possibility (shown mathematically to occur — that is, predicted to occur from standard physics — from an initial starting condition that might be possible) is contrary to what they are assuming here as foundational for “fusion.”

Range of Strong Nuclear Force

Again, not cleaned up. This is all assuming that LENR is a two-body reaction the same as with plasma fusion. The physics of the solid state is far more complex. The core issue with LENR at this point is that there is very strong evidence for the reality of a nuclear effect, but it is not understood. There are conditions where it will relatively reliably occur (say, measurably, 50% of the time) but no theory other than ad-hoc, operational theories that do not address mechanism, has been successfully tested to distinguish it from other theories, and all theories have defects, unexplained aspects, which will be covered below to some degree.


Energy Required for Fusion

Again, this all is about standard hot fusion. It could be considered to rule out some LENR theories, but LENR is basically an experimental field, not a theoretical one. This exposition is all theory, reasons to consider that LENR violates existing theory, except that an unknown reaction cannot be considered to violate theory, because theory cannot analyze an unknown reaction to determine expected rate. A deep report on the state of LENR research would look at what is known and confirmed from experimental work. This report wanders and considers much that is irrelevant — and obvious. Yes. LENR wasn’t expected! Nobody argues that! Pons and Fleischmann expected to find nothing. But then found something. What did they find? Science advances through curiosity over discovered anomalies.

LENR is an incredibly complex field, overall. What I see here would be embarrassing in an undergraduate level student paper on LENR. They obviously did not consult experts in the field, at all, or if they did, they ignored them. (But there is no sign of consulting experts in the emails released in the FOIA request).


Quantum Mechanical Tunneling is Essential for Fusion

Yes, probably. But this is all theoretical, and the reaction they show is p-p -> d fusion, with a probability of 0.001 at a collision energy of 10 Kev, and 10^-1921 at room temperature. How is this remotely relevant? They give the probability of winning the Powerball lottery as 3 x 10^-10. True, but because this is irrelevant, this is deceptive polemic. Why is NRL creating deceptive polemic? How were these authors chosen?

There is a calculation in a cluster fusion model of tunnelling rate, showing, from a very low energy initial condition, tunneling at 100% within a femtosecond. They dismiss this basically because the theory is incomplete, not realizing that a counterexample to what they think necessary has been shown. This is a product of radical unfamiliarity with the field. My point is not that cluster fusion theory is necessarily a reflection of the reality, but that fusion is far less impossible than they think. This is a scientific mystery, and solving scientific mysteries does not begin with believing them impossible. They are, obviously, unexpected!


Muon-Catalyzed Fusion (MCF): Uncontroversial and Well Understood

Again, not relevant to the topic they were asked to research. This is something someone totally naive would do, not realizing that words (“LENR”) have meaning in context. This is interesting, though, because some naive analyses claim that nuclear fusion at low temperatures is “impossible”. MCF is a counterexample. Bring that up and the pseudoskeptic will say, “but MCF isn’t practical.” Right. But wasn’t it just said that low temperature fusion was “impossible”?

They don’t realize the possible relevance. MCF is catalyzed by muons. Is some other form of catalysis possible? Theory might address specific ideas, but cannot address the general concept. It is impossible to prove a negative. Stated more positively, something that we haven’t thought of might be operating. How would we know? Well, we would see experimental results that we don’t understand. If we depend heavily on theory, as these authors are doing, we will reject those results as Probably Wrong. With no evidence other than our prior expectations.


MCF: Impractical for Energy Production

Indeed. (Unless a way is found to handle the sticking problem, or another way to generate muons.) And this is not what is called LENR.


MCF: current research directions

So they are spending much of the report covering what they were not asked to cover. MCF is not reported as LENR in the literature. Did they include MCF papers in that total above?


Publications on MCF

All a complete waste.


Nations for MCF research

Again, irrelevant.


Electrolytic Cell: Early Experiments

• In 1989, Pons and Fleischmann claimed to have observed excess heat
from an experiment involving the electrolysis of heavy water using a
palladium electrode

This is correct. It’s the original finding. It was prematurely reported — they were not ready — and they used the word “nuclear” based on artifact in neutron measurements, and their methods and actual findings were incompletely reported, leading to:

• Numerous attempts failed to replicate these results

This is highly misleading, appalling in this report. First of all, “replicate” can be used imprecisely. Few even attempted to “replicate” the FP experiment, for various reasons. The more general word is “confirm.” There was early work that failed to confirm. These were not generally exact replications, they were approximate and were based, often, on inadequate information. (They actually are part of the data set that establishes the conditions of the FP Heat Effect.) Later, there were many confirmations. I’ve seen analyses that, overall, there are more “positive” reports than negative, but I’m not sure that I’ve seen a thorough neutral analysis of this. It’s difficult to define the terms. But “failed to replicate” implies an isolated, unconfirmed result, which is preposterous, given the history of the field.

• No nuclear products were observed along with the excess heat

Again, simply not true. Pons and Fleischmann reported neutrons (which was error, later acknowledged), tritium, and helium. Those are nuclear products. Helium was confirmed by Miles in 1991 and over the years, not merely as present (which would be a relatively weak report because it could be leakage) but quantitatively correlated with anomalous heat, at levels consistent with the deuterium fusion value of 24 MeV/4He. That is, some of the helium is trapped and not released in the outgas, where it is measured, so less helium is found than would be expected from that ratio. Some later work took steps to release that helium and found values fully consistent with 24 MeV/4He. Helium is a nuclear product.

Below, the authors will refer to SPAWAR work. SPAWAR has found substantial evidence for 14 MeV neutrons from a codeposition cell. This has not been correlated with heat, however, and is not confirmed. A careful study will distinguish what is poorly reported, well-reported but not confirmed, and confirmed. This wasn’t a careful study at all.

As well, there are many reports of tritium, in particular, but the levels are such that tritium is probably a secondary reaction or otherwise rare product. The main product appears to be helium. This is extensively confirmed. Controversy still remains. However, there is a current effort in a joint project between Texas Tech and ENEA, the Italian alternative energy agency, to redo this work with increased precision and more extensive effort to recover all the helium. 

• Measurement errors in calorimetry may have contributed to observation of excess heat.

Sure. In fact, that happens on occasion. However, Pons and Fleischmann were among the world’s top electrochemists, and measuring heat was a specialty. If their report was isolated, this might be passed off as something that might never be confirmed. But it was confirmed. There are skeptics, presented with extremely careful work by experts, who simply say, “they must be making some mistake.” There is one published skeptic remaining who claims that behind all the massive findings showing excess heat there is a different anomaly, something also not expected, but chemical in nature. This is an isolated opinion and has had difficulty finding publication lately. A thorough study would look at this, at serious reasons to think there might be “some mistake.” However, it gets very difficult to explain the heat/helium correlation with that hypothesis. This report is depending on a vague and unspecified error, in the face of massive contradiction by experts and strong evidence, confirmed by many labs. article/ O_O_O/cold_fusion_03

is a shallow pop science piece that misreports what Pons and Fleischmann actually did and how they thought. They did not expect to see substantial heat. They had decided to test a reasonable hypothesis, that the approximations used to estimate fusion probability were causing error in the rate estimate. That is, in fact, practically certain, the issue would be *how much* error. They expected that the fusion rate would still be below anything they could detect. Then their experiment melted down, releasing energy that they could not explain by chemistry. So they scaled down, for safety, and continued exploring the effect. Five years later, they were still not ready to announce, but legal considerations led to it. It was a mess. They were actually wrong about some aspects of what they had found. They made this or that mistake. But their basic finding, anomalous heat, has not been impeached (by other than that isolated skeptic mentioned above, who, though previously published, has been reduced to ranting on the internet. I even think that’s unfair. But that’s what is happening.)

• Also in 1989, S. Jones of Brigham Young University using similar
electrolytic cells observed neutrons, but no excess heat.

It was his work that caused the premature announcement. However, the Jones was not an electrochemist and his cells did not approach the high loading conditions that Pons and Fleischmann attained. He would not be expected to find heat, from what is now known about the reaction. As to neutrons, his levels were very low; in general, neutron findings have never been correlated with heat, so if those findings are real, they are not related to the primary reaction. Again, this is actually irrelevant to the major charge of the Committee.


Early Electrolysis Experiments Using Heavy Water Were Discredited

The page doesn’t support the headline.

• 2004 Review of LENR research by Hagelstein et al. claimed Helium
production correlated with excess heat measurements

They did. However, the Panel, from the report, did not understand the data in a supplement provided for the Case gas-loading work (actually a different experiment from the FP Heat Effect) and read a clear correlation as an anti-correlation. This is easy to see in the 2004 Review report. So then they easily dismissed this as possibly leakage (a generic objection to helium results, even though in that work the helium levels rose above ambient. So then it’s claimed that maybe there was a helium source in the lab. However, the value of the ratio, then, becomes mysterious. Almost all work in this area shows a ratio that is within an order of magnitude, usually substantially closer, to the theoretical deuterium fusion value. 

• Review evaluated by Department of Energy in 2004, which recommended
experiments to search for fusion events in thin deuterated foils , but not
focused federally funded program for LENR.

The Report

… isn’t being fairly presented here. The actual recommendation:

The nearly unanimous opinion of the reviewers was that funding agencies should entertain individual, well-designed proposals for experiments that address specific scientific issues relevant to the question of whether or not there is anomalous energy production in Pd/D systems, or whether or not D-D fusion reactions occur at energies on the order of a few eV. These proposals should meet accepted scientific standards, and undergo the rigors of peer review. No reviewer recommended a focused federally funded program for low energy nuclear reactions.

I agree. Notice “nearly unanimous opinion.” What is a “focused federally funded program?” There were hopes in 1989 and again in 2004 that some kind of major program might be funded. My opinion is that this would be premature. What is needed is, indeed, focused proposals designed to address basic issues. The DoE has never funded this, beyond massively unfocused work in 1989 and maybe 1990. Throwing money at LENR is a Bad Idea. A lot can be wasted.

However, the idea that the question is “D-D fusion reactions” or not is misleading. The real issue is what the cause is of the FP Heat Effect and other reported phenomena. My opinion is that straight-out “D-D fusion” is unlikely. Something else is happening. The confirmed effect shows a helium ratio to heat that is the same as “D-D fusion,” but that is simply a reflection of the laws of thermodynamics. Whatever converts deuterium to helium must show that energy. What is known is that the energy shows up entirely as heat, without high-energy radiation, which is very unexpected. Something mysterious is happening.

In general, the DoE reviewers did not understand what they were seeing, so their specific recommendations might be off. It reflects what those not familiar with the field might think, after a quite brief one-day review, with little interaction. Actual funding decisions would be worked out between researchers and funding agencies. 

But the DoE review was better than this NRL report. Both have a similar shortcoming: they don’t actually establish or recommend any specific actions to improve the situation, to actually answer those basis scientific questions.

• Sufficient deuterium loading
required for excessive heat,
suggested as reason for early
negative results [McKubre
Proceedings of ICCF 2009]

This is weakly presented. It’s more than “suggested.” They do show a chart from the 2004 DoE review paper showing a substantial series of experiments, with many results at high loading, and few, declining to zero at loading of 80%. None of those early “negative results” had 80% loading. At the time, they did not know it was necessary — this had not been announced — and there is more: the Fleischmann-Pons work took many weeks of loading to begin showing the effect, and none of those early experiments waited long enough.

Is loading the issue? There are now some reasons to think that high loading is merely one of a number of conditions necessary to see the Heat Effect. High loading by itself isn’t enough. The critical factor, besides high loading at onset, is specific material conditions, and this is all well-known, and was even understood by the 2004 DoE review. The material shifts with time and repeated loading and deloading. Pons and Fleischmann believed that the effect was a bulk effect, happening inside the bulk. The helium evidence indicates otherwise. It’s a surface effect, from where the helium is found (released in the gas or in near-surface trapping). Instead of considering “conditions where the Heat Effect is found, this is often presented by some skeptics as some kind of an excuse, often with exaggeration of the unreliability.

• Even with large deuterium
loading, negative results still
observed [McKubre
Proceedings of ICCF 2009]

That’s right. However, with some materials and high loading and other conditions that have been correlated with heat, a majority of experiments do show excess heat; the amount varies greatly. The heat/helium ratio cuts through this noise, and the variation in heat then becomes a control. If helium were leakage, it would be unlikely to vary with the heat (the “heat” in these experiments is small, it is not a large difference in temperature, and in some experiments the temperature is constant. It can be complicated.)

Reported Excess Heat vs Deuterium Loading Ratio
Hageistein et al. 2004 DOE Report

This was the chart I mentioned above. There are charts published elsewhere that show SRI and ENEA experiments with heat vs. loading ratio and some major early “negative replications” plotted on the same chart. Low loading equals no heat results, it’s that simple.


Lack Theoretical Foundation

They show, again, a pop science presentation from a pop or high school level web site that misrepresents what Pons and Fleischmann thought they were doing.” As they have told the story (and who else would one get it from?), they were looking for possible deviations from the rate predictions of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. This is actually expected, some deviation, however what they found was not expected. They expected that they would not be able to measure anything the error introduced by the approximation would be too small.

What they were looking for was actually irrelevant, in the end. However, this idea that they were scientifically clueless is common. As has happened many times in science, they found something unexpected by looking where nobody had looked before (in palladium deuteride, at very high loading ratio).  Who predicted lots of neutrons? This was a prediction, not of Pons and Fleischmann, but of skeptics, who imagined that if they found something, it must be d-d fusion. They actually did not claim d-d fusion, if one reads their first paper, it was reported as an “unknown nuclear reaction,” precisely because levels of neutrons were very low (and, in fact, what they found was error, artifact, as to neutrons). This was truly a fiasco and one of the signs of “fiasco” is that what they did is still commonly misunderstood, because rumor, widely repeated, took the place of fact. This Briefing continues that.

They were also wrong about many things. They were not aware of how critical the material was, so, after announcing, they ran out of their first batch of palladium and ordered more. It didn’t work. This was totally embarrassing, but they then made a series of reactive errors. I won’t go into them all here, but this was a fiasco all around, assumptions made and actions taken on assumptions that led to more mess. The original meltdown in 1984: they didn’t photograph the damage and didn’t keep the material. They were afraid that the University Fire Department would shut them down. Fear leads to poor decisions. I would not expect a Briefing on cold fusion to cover all these historical details, but I would expect it to avoid those shallow “explanations.” 

Shown from the the page is :

Hypothesis/theory -> expected results -> actual results

Pons’ work

Lots of cold fusion is taking place in the palladium -> expect to see many neutrons released -> not many neutrons are released

This is not what happened. They did not start with that hypothesis. They started with an idea to explore. Exploratory research often does not proceed with the hypothesis/prediction/test process. They were looking where nobody had looked.

What they actually found was a lot of heat, that they could not explain with chemistry, and they were prominent chemists. From the context, they asked the question if it was fusion. They then pointed out (in tgheir 1989 paper) that there were not nearly enough neutrons for the known fusion reaction — and there actually were none or very few. The pop sci story is told as if they did not realize this.

As far as I know, the first anomaly was a meltdown with a lot of heat. Not just a little. Not some calorimetry error. It’s been claimed that this was deuterium/oxygen recombination. That chemistry would not have been adequate to explain what they saw, at least probably not. Remember, they didn’t keep their materials, the experiment had been destroyed. Obviously, this was not going to get the world excited about “cold fusion.” But they kept working and they found effects, and when they eventually announced, it took time — these experiments took time! — but others found a heat effect as well, and other related effects.

It is all still controversial, but a proper briefing would explore the controversy and explain why people still are working in the field, what results have they seen that keep them going?

Limit of work on this draft, below not formatted or studied.

Spin-Boson Oscillator Theory


released in deuterium- deuteri
um fusion goes
into large numbers of low energy phonons that
heats the system
Hydroton Theory

nuclear active
environments in nano cracks resulting from
electrol ysis or gas loading
• Cluster Fusion Theory – seeks to investigate
multibody fusion for enhanced fusion rates.
Four deuterons arranged in a tetrahedral
symmetric configuration yielding 4 He atoms.
\ ‘
‘ .
‘. ,, ..
Predicts excess heat should be 23.8 MeV/ He atom,
which is
not observed in experiments
Hagelstein and Chaudhary Proceedings ICCF-14 (2008)
Storms J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. (2012)
No mechanism given to produce tetrahedral
symmetric configuration
Takahashi J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. (201 1)
SPAWAR Experiments Looked for
Nuclear Products
• Research effort at SPAWAR
Systems Center Pacific began
shortly after
Pons and Fleischmann
and ended in 2012

Used a palladium-deuterium co­
deposition process
to prepare the
electrodes, seeking more
reproducible results
• Experiments focused
on finding the
nuclear products from nuclear
reactions occurring
in electrolytic
cell ls
• Used CR-39 solid state track
to look for tracks left by
energetic particles
Triple tracks caused by breakup of
into 3
He due to collision with a fast neutron ,
ysis ends at visual inspection,
similarity to deuterium-tritium fusion
• Experiments were able to replicate
CR-39 tracks, but noticed striking
differences when compared to CR39

SPAWAR CR-39 neutron measurements leave many unanswered questions.

Attempts to Address Reproducibility
Yielded Erratic Results
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McKubre Proceedings of ICCF (2009)

•• •
Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and Italian National
agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable
economic development (ENEA) experiments try to
address reproducibility using identically prepared
es from the same lot.
• 50°/o of trials showed no excess heat, while others
showed variability of
• Observations of excessive heat were still erratic.
l j
. ..
Summary of Electrolytic Cell reports from 1998-2004
Naturwissenschaften (2010)

Plot above was used by [Storms 201 O] to
demonstrate successes of LENR experiments
Most striking feature is the large number of
null results
Predictability and reproducibility are still outstanding issues with LENA
• After almost 30 years, the same issues are still present with
cold fusion
or LENR claims
• Interesting anomalous effects exist that are difficult
reproduce and control
• Lack of theoretical understanding
for the underlying
• Lack of independent testing and substantiation

U.S. is involved in LENR research at universities, government
labs, industry, and the private sector.
• It is premature
to invest heavily in LENA research due to the
of knowledge, reproducible evidence, and technology
currently available
Back up
• This slide is intentionally left blank.
Transmutation Involves the Electroweak Force and Is a
Nuclear Reaction, But Not Fusion
• Transmutation changes an atom from
one element to another, which is
accomplished by altering the number of
Free Neutron Decay
n -+ p+ + e- +Ve
i c -+
Beta Decay
j N + e- +Ve
Inverse Beta Decay/ Electron Capture
i~Al + e- -+ i~ Mg +Ve
• For isotopes unstable to these
reactions, they spontaneously occur and
release energy
• Widom and Larsen posit that localized
condensed matter electric fields
metallic hydride surfaces can create
“heavy” electrons
(- 20x e- rest mass)
• The “heavy” electrons are captured by
the metal and the resulting neutron is
• These low momentum neutrons
catalyze chains of nuclear reactions,
6L·+ 7L·
n ~
7L· SL·
3 l + n ~ 3 I,
~Be~ ~ Be+ e- +Ve,
~B e ~ i He + iHe.
Electric fi elds to create “heavy” electrons would require E ~ 10
(ICF lasers produce electric fields up
to … 10
In 2002 lwamura et al. Observed Transmutation
and Excess Heat
in a 0
• Deuterium gas is permeated through a
multilayer substrate of palladium and
calcium oxide at 343 K for a week
• A thin film of cesium was added to the
substrate, and lwamura
et al. report that
the cesium layer decreased
commensurate with
an increase in
praseodymium, along with x-rays from
10 to 100 keV, and excess heat
• lwamura
et al. propose an electron
capture theory
to create a di-neutron
iD + e- ~ 5n + v
• The di-neutron can then create an
ele ment unstable to beta decay via
neutron capture
Hioki et al. measured 10-
-Pd System
~ X + 5n ~ A+ix ~ ~tiY
• Via a chain of four of these reactions
cesium could be converted to
• No reiPorted observations of the other
in the chain
• No rigorous development of this theory
to check if these reactions are
energetically favorable
• N RL
was unable to independently
reproduce these results (2009)
• [Hioki
et al. 2013) was able to reproduce
these results
of transmuted praseodymium after
250 hours of permeation treatments.
Ultra-Dense Deuterium: Origin in
Rydberg Matter (RM)
• Rydberg atom – valence shell
electrons are in highly excited state
• Cluster of Rydberg atoms can
condense to form Rydberg matter
• In Rydberg matter, highly excited
electrons become delocalized and
act as a collective neutralizing
• Rydberg matter
is sparse, largest
observed cluster had
91 atoms
• Bond distance
d is given by:
d = 2.9 n
where n is principal quantum number
= 5.2 x 10-
m is the Bohr
Winterberg J. Fusion ENergy (201 O)
~-7 8-
Wigner-Seitz unit eell
Rydberg Matter schematic electron distribution
• Rydberg matter has been formed
from H, N, K, and Cs
~ Ultra-Dense Deuterium is Claimed to Have
r Remarkable Properties
• Exotic form of Rydberg matter where
nuclei act as the delocalized electrons
• Bond distance d

= 2.3 x 10-
• Density – 130,000 g/cm3 (compare
density of lead – 11.34 g/cm3)
• Room temperature super conductor*
• Superfluid* ,
Laser’ FoaJsong
baam “‘-. Ions__……_
(lu’1f x
dolll<IO< TOf poth ‘
11:211 mm ~ So movo
0 1 ___ — -~, …… laSCtla 0 1
I ~F~h
Hprtmotnt AU 101 mm
Setup for TOF Experiments
[[Badiei et al. Physica Scripta (2010)]
•Predicted by theory [Berezhiani et al. 201 OJ, not experimentally verified
• Nuclei of comets covered in RM
• Stable exospheres
on Moon and
Mercury explained by heavy
• RM is part of dark matter

RM could explain Faraday rotation
in intergalactic space
Presented evidence for existence of ultra-dense deuterium is time-of­
flight mass spectrometry, claims do not match available evidence
Reanalysis of TOF Data Leads to
Contradictory Results
[Hansen Int. J. Mass Spectroscopy 2016)’
I · ~
I ~
/ {#i
/ ~
I , c,,
I ·~
/ i!
I ~
/ ~
Ek. -130 eV- – – – – – – ,- – – – – – – – – –
– 200 ……._..__._……..,_…_._………__._.__._._ ………………… ……_._._._._.
0 2x 10
4x l0
6x l0
..; (m
Sxl 0
*Holmlid’s comment on Hansen’s comment was
rejected by the journal
. /
• Hansen reanalyzed TOF data using
Holmlid data
• Laser ionizes RM, leading to Coulomb
• Conservation of energy gives
-v = Ub+-Ek
Zq q
• Holmlid assumes energy goes into
rotational excitation, such that
E,. =
630 eV
• Hansen analysis indicates data is m1ore
consistent with Hydrogen molecules
being involved in Coulomb explosions,
not Deuterium
Hansen analysis casts doubts on validity of Holmlid interpretation
Major caveat: Research on Ultra-dense
Deuterium is Limited to One Small Group
• Work is published in mainstream, reputable journals
• – 94°/o of the 84 articles were written by 4 authors in the
same group headed by Leif Holmlid
• – 88°/o of citations are self-citations
• No other group has reproduced the results
• No other experimental group has published a paper on ultra­
dense deuterium
Measurements has not be independently reproduced.
Acoustic Cavitation Fusion
• Cavitation is the process of boiling
liiquid as a result of pressure
• When the bubbles that form
colllapse, a shock wave can form
capable of causing damage, e.g.
pitting on a propeller
Damaged Boat Propeller
https ://en. wi ki rope li er
¢ Bubble_fusion
• Sonoluminescence is the
generation of li
ght from cavitati on
due to sound waves
• Acoustic cavitation fusion seeks to
use these shock waves to locally
heat the liquid to produce a pl
and stimulate fusion reactions
~ Acoustic Cavitation Fusion – Discredited
[Taleyarkhan et al. 2002]
Pulsed Neutron
Vacuum Pump
Deuterated Acetone
• Taleyarkhan et al. claim to have
observed neutrons coincident with
sonoluminescence indicative of fusion
• Internal attempts at reproduction failed
to produce detectable neutrons
• External efforts by Putterman at UCLA
also failed
to reproduce Taleyarkhan’s
• [Naranjo 2006] demonstrates that
neutron spectra reported by
Taleyarkhan not consistent with
fusion, but with
cf source.

An “independent confirmation” [Xu and
Butt 2005], which was later determined
that Taleyarkhan was deeply involved
and led to findings of falsification and
research misconduct
Discredited observations notwithstanding, extreme conditions do exist
in collapsing bubbles
Acoustic Cavitation Fusion Plausible


• Single Bubble Sonoluminescence
(SBSL) has led to greater experimental
control and more extreme conditions
• Spectroscopic studies on SBSL
measured heavy-particle temperature
and pressure of 15000 K and 4000 atm
• Observations of noble gas ion emission
lines demonstrate plasma formation
• Detailed SBSL Ar line profile analysis
has estimated electron densities of 10
at 3.8 bar of acoustic driving
• Simulations show densities up to 10
and temperatures up to 1 as K
SBSL of Xenon in Sulfuric Acid
Flannigan and Suslick Nature (2005)
• Extreme conditions short lived … 10-

See also:

Popular Science, May 13, 2016 Congress Is Suddenly Interested in Cold Fusion