Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
I have been occasionally following the LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reaction) developments because they has been making substantial progress in these last couple of years and it appears that the research has turned an important corner. A paper has been put out explaining the findings. (Here.) There were two important findings: (This article also has an interview with the one of the authors of the paper.)
The first finding is an energy release which puts the reactor way beyond conventional (chemical) sources of energy.
The second is a dramatic shift in isotopic composition in the fuel after the test run, meaning changes have occurred in the atomic nuclei of the elements present in the fuel.
The most important news of the year, perhaps, not just the last seven days? The results of a new investigation into the Rossi reactor (allegedly a high-power cold fusion reactor), involving running the reactor over a 32-day period, are now out. The report not only confirms output power far in excess of anything possible by chemical reaction, but also gives a clear indication that a nuclear reaction is occurring, on the basis of a substantial change in the isotopic proportions of Li and Ni over the period of the run.
. . .I predict that pigs will fly before Nature makes any mention of the report, which has also been put on hold by the physics preprint archive arxiv.org (with an earlier report, a leaked email disclosed that the moderators were trying hard to find a reason to block the report but eventually gave in). Brian Josephson
A little explanation is in order as to why this is important. Nuclear reactors currently use fission. That is to say, they create nuclear energy by breaking apart atoms. This is a radioactive process that yields dangerous radioactive waste in the form of isotopes. Fusion is when energy is created by making atoms larger. It does not produce radioactive waste, but it also requires an insane amount of heat to begin the process and produces an insane amount of heat. It makes fusion very difficult to work with. That’s all we’ve known and now we have something . . . different.
A nuclear reaction is taking place that doesn’t seem to exactly fall into either category. That’s why it’s called LENR and not cold fusion. All this occurs without any radiation outside of the reactor. Also, no one is yet sure exactly what process is taking place because ordinary physics does not seem to have accounted for this yet. Some snippets from the paper:
. . . The E-Cat reactor was tested in March 2013 by the same collaboration performing the present test and a report is given in ref. . The March 2013 test showed indeed a clear indication that abnormal heat was generated, i.e. that the amount of heat could not be explained by any chemical processes in the limited volume of the reactor tube. This striking result prompted us to investigate this phenomenon further. Therefore a second test has now been performed, this time over a much longer period of time (32 days).
. . . In the course of the year following the previous tests, the E-Cat’s technology was transferred to Industrial Heat LLC, United States, where it was replicated and improved. The present E-Cat reactor is therefore an improved version running at higher temperature than the one used in the March 2013 experiment. The general experimental procedure in the present test was the same as in the March test, i.e. the input power was carefully monitored with appropriate instruments, and the output power was determined by measuring the emitted radiation as well as calculating the heat dissipation from convection. The test started with a run with no fuel in the reactor in order to make sure that our experimental set-up gave a perfect balance between the measured input and output power.
. . .This large amount of heat is, as pointed out above, way beyond what can be expected from chemical burning, which only involves rearrangements of the fuel material at the atomic scale, i.e. by transforming atomic binding energies to kinetic energy. Very large energy transformations can only take place when binding energies at the nuclear level are exploited, as in fusion reactions for light elements and fission reactions for heavy elements. However fusion reactions between free charged particles are extremely unlikely at low energies due to the Coulomb barrier.
. . .The main result from our sample is nevertheless clear, that the isotopic composition deviates dramatically from the natural composition for both Li and Ni.
. . . If nuclear transitions are prevalent in the burning process it is expected that radiation is emitted. It is remarkable that neither neutrons, charged particles nor gammas are observed from the E-cat reactor. Furthermore, the spent fuel was found inactive right after the E-Cat run was stopped. All imaginable nuclear reactions in the reactor should be followed by some radiation, and at least some of that radiation should penetrate the reactor wall and be possible to detect. Even in the case discussed above with two rather high energy helium nuclei in the final state, which all stop in the reactor, one can expect that some helium nuclei during the stopping process undergo some nuclear reaction, e.g. inelastic scattering of 4He on Li, Al or Ni which then subsequently decays to their ground state respectively via gamma emission. To get free neutron is however not kinematically possible with the 10 MeV alpha available. The absence of any nuclear radiation from the burning process is presently an open question, and has to be understood.
. . .In summary, the performance of the E-Cat reactor is remarkable. We have a device giving heat energy compatible with nuclear transformations, but it operates at low energy and gives neither nuclear radioactive waste nor emits radiation. From basic general knowledge in nuclear physics this should not be possible. Nevertheless we have to relate to the fact that the experimental results from our test show heat production beyond chemical burning, and that the E-Cat fuel undergoes nuclear transformations. It is certainly most unsatisfying that these results so far have no convincing theoretical explanation, but the experimental results cannot be dismissed or ignored just because of lack of theoretical understanding. Moreover, the E-Cat results are too conspicuous not to be followed up in detail. In addition, if proven sustainable in further tests the E-Cat invention has a large potential to become an important energy source. Further investigations are required to guide the interpretational work, and one needs in particular as a first step detailed knowledge of all parameters affecting the E-Cat operation. Our work will continue in that direction.
I find it infuriating that this technology, which could easily create vast, positive changes for humanity, -the likes of which we have never seen-, is so lightly regarded that I feel the need to blog on it in order to raise awareness. There should be 500 scientists working on this right now with a budget of $100 million dollars. This should be news on every major news outlet IN THE WORLD.
Energy is why we fight wars. Energy is why we’re experiencing global warming and is responsible for much of the disparity in wealth. If we can solve energy, we can make a much better world. So why do you need to hear about this from a parapsychology blog? Aren’t the lives of millions of people as well as ending a great many destructive practices and possibly the survival of humanity itself big enough moral issues to push ordinary people into some sort of action? Isn’t that enough?
Other LENR resources: