Accession Number : ADA338629

Title :   The Status of "Cold Fusion",

Corporate Author : NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC

Personal Author(s) : Nagel, David J.

PDF Url : ADA338629

Report Date : 17 FEB 1998

Pagination or Media Count : 29

Abstract : The questions raised by reports of nuclear reactions at low energies, so called 'cold fusion,' are not yet answered to the satisfaction of many scientists. Further experimental investigations of these and related questions seems desirable, at least for scientific if not practical reasons. Properly conducted, such investigations would be indistinguishable from normal research. They would yield information germane to accepted areas of scientific inquiry and technological utility. The announcement on 23 March 1989 by Pons and Fleischmann that they had achieved power generation from nuclear reactions at ordinary temperature had a rapid and enormous impact. About six weeks later, the cover stories of three major popular news magazines in the U. S. were on 'cold fusion'. The response to the prospect of easy and inexhaustible energy, maybe with little residual radiation, was comparable to the public reaction to Roentgen's report of x-rays in 1895. Then it was thought that privacy would no longer be possible. The strength of the 'cold fusion' surprise had two bases. One was the strong knowledge, on the part of physicists, that high energy beams (or equivalently, high temperature plasmas, with their associated high particle velocities) are needed to force nuclei into contact, a prerequisite for their reaction. Physicists had worked hard for four decades, and spent billions of dollars, in only partially successful efforts to produce and contain the multi-million degree plasmas needed to get significant energy out of nuclear fusion. Despite the major progress on heating fusion plasmas, and on overcoming many instabilities which tend to destroy plasma containment, three milestones remain to make fusion energy useful.

Descriptors :   *LOW ENERGY, *NUCLEAR REACTIONS, RADIATION, HIGH TEMPERATURE, PLASMAS(PHYSICS), HIGH VELOCITY, HIGH ENERGY, PARTICLES, RESIDUALS, ELECTRIC POWER PRODUCTION, BEAMS(RADIATION), NUCLEI, PHYSICISTS.

Subject Categories : Nuclear Power Plants and Fission Reactor Eng

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE