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Saturday, January 09, 2010


tabletop nuclear reactor?

Cold fusion may not be fusion. It may be some completely unknown effect. However since Fleischmann & Pons announced producing fusion & many others attempting to replicate their results didn't there have been a substantial & replicable number of instances of people producing power. Partly because F&P, going public before demonstrating it under "peer review" had behaved more like showmen than scientists & partly because peers in this field had spent their lives trying to achieve fusion in the traditional way & weren't happy, there was eagerness to dismiss them.
tabletop device built by Osaka University physicist Yoshiaki Arata and his associate Yue Chang Zhang continuously generated excess energy in the form of heat and also produced helium particles.

“The demonstration showed their method was highly reproducible,” the report quoted physicist Akito Takahashi, one of the 60 persons from industry and universities who witnessed it, as saying.

The demonstration held on May 22 has drawn immediate praise from Mahadeva Srinivasan, a cold fusion pioneer and formerly associate director of physics at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai.

“The cold fusion community is excited and is reverberating with news of a live public demo,” Srinivasan told IANS from Chennai. “The field is truly ripe for Indian labs to enter and it is hoped that we won’t miss the bus once again.”

The fusion process that powers the sun requires extreme temperature and pressure to force hydrogen nuclei fuse and release energy. Achieving fusion at room temperature was considered impossible until 1989 when American scientists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons startled the world with their tabletop experiment.

They connected a battery to a pair of palladium electrodes immersed in a jar of water containing deuterium (heavier form of hydrogen) and showed their electrolytic cell produced heat energy in excess of what was consumed. They claimed that deuterium nuclei were being packed into the palladium’s lattice in such a way for fusion to take place.

Later it was shown by several groups including Srinivasan and Padmanabha Krishnagopala Iyengar at BARC in the early 1990s that the reaction produced tritium as well as helium indicating that cold fusion was real. However, further work at BARC was abandoned due to denunciation of cold fusion by mainstream scientists and the US government... more
That experiment has demonstrated production of energy in a manner not explicable by scientists outside the field cannot be denied. It would thus be worthy of research even were it not so potentially valuable. A tabletop device that can produce potentially unlimited fusion power without risk is potentially a world changer, but even if that weren't so, good scientific research into the unknown always pays off either in the expected way or serendipitously.

Such research should be supported & if it is only supported in India & China - well more fool us.

This seems to be another, though this time inadvertent, case where government public R&D funding tended to have negative consequences - not, as with "catastrophic global warming" where the state was constructing a deliberate scare story but simply that government grant giving has produced a self-referential community of experts who say it can only be done their way. Governments would almost always rather spend a billion in something which will work, or at least in which their asses are covered because everybody else says the same, than risk $100 million in something with a 20% chance of working, because they don't want to lose face. The same applies to big companies because very few of them are big enough to gamble that sort of money even on such good odds - this is somewhere where, in theory government should be able to take bigger risks than business can but in our present overcautious society that is no longer so.

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An interesting post indeed. The importance of science is something that no nation can afford to dismiss.

I am curious. Are you aware of any British labs or research projects working on cold fusion?
I don't know of any specificaly doing so & knowing how our government is willing to hand out £400 million a year for NERC's 20 odd reports on bumblebees I seriously doubt something so worthwhile would get support. There may be some commercial work being done since this article mentions, in passing, that 11.2% of cited research work worldwide is done in the UK.
You can learn a great deal more about cold fusion here:

This site features about 1000 technical papers on cold fusion, and several government documents such as the November 2009 evaluation by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
Also, by the way, I do not know of any British labs working on cold fusion. I met with Martin Fleischmann recently, and I know a couple of profs at the Cambridge U. physics lab. They would probably let me know if any work was going on in the U.K. I am in touch with hundreds of researchers worldwide and I hear about it.

It is a shame there is no research in the U.K.

Research in Italy and the U.S. is increasing, as recommended by the D.I.A.
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