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(Source: New Energy Times)
Dear E632 and WA84 Collaborators,
2. LEP Start up
3. United States DOE Panel gives Interim Report
3.3 Fusion Products
3.4 A Comment from Utah
4. Funding in Utah
5. More News of Tritium Discoveries in Texas - Editorial in Nature
6. Other Items
6.1 Situation in Utah
6.3 Search for Neutrons at Sandia
6.4 Bursts of Neutrons at Los Alamos
After many years work, the Large Electron-Positron Collider, LEP
at CERN, started its tests on the 14 July as scheduled and a positron beam was
able to circulate round the entire 27 km ring.
The panel set up by DOE has issued an interim report. Essentially it said
that there was no good evidence that cold fusion could produce a useful source
of energy and hence there should be no major funding for it. Some things were
not understood and a modest amount of financing would be acceptable - but on
the basis of competitive proposals.
2. LEP START UP
On Friday, July 14, positrons were injected for the first time
into the LEP storage ring. This ring is about 27 km in circumference and is
about 100 metres underground. The injection from the SPS accelerator, began
at 15.30 and went round to the first luminescent screen and was seen and the
screen was lowered, then to the second screen where it was seen and that
screen was lowered and so on. There was so little difficulty that by 16.30
the positrons were able to go all the way round! Considering the number of
components and the precision required, it is a remarkable achievement. By now
16 turns have been achieved. The beam is about a few times ten to the nineth.
The aim is to accelerate simultaneously intense electron and positron beams
to about 50 GeV and make them collide to produce Z-zero particles. SLAC has just
given its first physics result from its electron-positron collider, that the
mass of the Z0 is 91.2 +/- 0.4 GeV - this is almost an order of magnitude more
precise than the previous value.
At present the LEP schedule is to continue commissioning until early August
when there will be a three day test run of the four LEP experiments, then more
commissioning until September when it is hoped to start full physics runs.
(By 17 July improvements have been made to the SPS and 30 turns have been
3. UNITED STATES DOE PANEL GIVES INTERIM REPORT.
The US Department of Energy had asked a 22-member committee to report on Cold
Fusion. The Co-chairs are a nuclear chemist, John R. Huizenga and a physicist,
Norman Ramsey. They have issued a preliminary report (ahead of their own
schedule) on July 12 (sorry for the delay but I finally took a day off to ski
on the Mont Fort glacier above Verbier, also we are starting another test run
of our WA84 scintillating fibres). The report said;
"the experiments reported to date do not present convincing evidence that
useful sources of energy will result from the phenomena attributed to cold
"evidence for the discovery of a new nuclear process termed cold fusion is
"no special programs to establish cold fusion research centers or to
support new efforts to find cold fusion are justified at the present time."
The panel distinguished between the excess heat ["Fleischmann-Pons effect", my
comments are in brackets] claiming production of relatively large amounts of
heat(some Watts), and the reports of production of small amounts of fusion
products or of very small amounts of heat (it was recalled that one Watt
corresponded to about 1 E12 neutrons).
The panel said that to clear up conflicting results and for general
scientific interest, some experiments should continue, but suggested three
conditions; (1) the funding be modest, (2) it should be on the basis of
competitive proposals [which implies that you have to explain what you have done
and what you intend to do] (3) co-operation between labs is encouraged, (4) for
calorimetry, the use of closed calorimeters is encouraged
The panel wrote that Calorimetry was difficult and its analysis complicated.
They recommended that closed cells be used where there were fewer uncertainties
rather than open cells (where the D2 and O2 gases escape) [claims of excess heat
have only come from open cells]. "In none of our visits to the different
sites did we see an operating cell that was actually producing excess heat"
[the sites included Utah and Texas A&M].
"However there are reports of sporadic temperature 'excursions' or 'bursts'
that apparently represent power outputs significantly larger than the input
power. These.....are not at present understood".
The panel recommended some research to "resolve some of the claims and
counter claims in calorimetry .....supported at a modest level" of funding,
but "against any significant expenditure".
3.3 Fusion products
Neutrons - "Although many experimenters report no
neutrons, some report as many as one neutron per second". As this is 1 E-12
Watts "it is of no interest as a practical energy source".
Tritium - "Numerous experimenters"... "have found no excess tritium". "one
group reports finding up to 1 E14 tritium atoms". In similar cells they find
about one neutron per second; this is about 1 E10 less than expected.
Helium - "None of the researchers to date ...have reported 3He or 4He above
the detectable level of 1 E9 atoms".
Volcanoes - Some groups are looking for tritium from volcanoes as it has been
suggested cold fusion could produce this.
The panel recommended (1) some experiments to check claims of excess tritium
(2) some studies of other fusion products for reasons "of general scientific
interest" (3) when experiments searching for excess heat are being performed,
some simultaneous monitoring for fusion products should be done. All these
experiments should be modest in funding.
3.4 A Comment from Utah
The New York Times followed its excellent tradition of not just
copying press releases, but of contacting other sources to obtain balancing
comments. Thus they quote "In a telephone interview, Dr. James Brophy, director
of research at the University of Utah, dismissed the panel's findings, saying he
was confident cold fusion was real."
4. FUNDING IN UTAH
The University of Utah had asked Congress for $25 million to start a new
centre to study cold fusion. It was already considered that such money
would not be given - the DOE report should make it definitive. The Utah
legislature had set aside $5 million for such studies and recently hearings
had started to release the money as the Governor believed that there was
adequate confirmation of the original work of Fleischmann and Pons.
Confirmation hearings have started. It is most surprising that of 11 July,
no one from Brigham Young University in Utah had been asked to give evidence
although they were well known to have worked on the question for the past
three years and Steve Jones gave evidence to Congress. Let us hope that the
fact that Steve testified that although he considered his group had observed
some neutrons, he did not believe that practical energy could result from
this work as the flux of neutrons was many orders of magnitude too low .
5. MORE NEWS OF TRITIUM DISCOVERIES IN TEXAS - EDITORIAL IN NATURE
Prof. Bockris has sent me many
comments about the situation and also a preprint by Kevin Wolf's group,
Packham et al. on "The observation of tritium production during electrolysis
of heavy water samples using palladium wires". This paper reports measurements
of samples of the electrolyte with liquid scintillators - these measurements
were confirmed by five other labs. The counting rates varied, the highest being
4.9 E 6 counts per min per ml. which corresponded to a production of 1 E 10
atoms of tritium per second. If this were fusion according to the reaction
d + d ---> t + p +4.02 MeV (1)
it would correspond to 2 milliwatts. It would be expected that the reaction
d + d ---> 3He + n (2)
would produce equal amounts of neutrons, i.e. 1 E 10 per second. No
measurements of neutrons of this cell are reported. However measurements are
reported for two other cells which gave lower tritium counting rates, 1.2 E 5
and 1.95 E 2 which is three orders of magnitude lower - these measurements are
0.8 neutrons per second. It is not commented upon that these measurements are
completely inconsistent with one another.
It is commented that the tritium rate equivalent to 2 milliwatt is 2 E-4
less than the 4 watts claimed from calorimetric measurements, but it is
suggested that the difference escaped as gas. Unfortunately no measurements
are given to justify this hypothesis. Again it is speculated that tritium only
forms on the surface of denderites - but for an unexplained reason, the cathodes
of these cells were not examined to correlate denderite formation with
the highly variable amount of tritium observed.
A new word is introduced the "sporadicity" of the effect, but no statistical
analysis of the evidence is presented.
If the 4 Watts came from dd fusion giving tritium, then I warned Prof.
Bockris that one would expect a lethal dose of neutrons. He says that this is
not so and Kevin Wolf will sent me calculations to show this. They are awaited
Thus in conclusion, there are tantalising results on tritium measurements,
but all the measurements given are wildly inconsistent. Again as Texas A&M is a
very well-equipped university, it would be great if they could do one really
careful experiment where everything was measured simultaneously and then
In Nature dated 6 July, the front cover says "No evidence for Cold Fusion
Neutrons" (this refers to the paper by Gai et al.) and inside John Maddox
discusses the evidence concluding "end of cold fusion in sight". He also
comments on the controversy about the gamma measurements claimed by Fleischmann
and Pons and doubted by Petrasso et al. of MIT who concluded that their
gamma spectrum is an artifact. It is interesting to look up in a dictionary
the various definitions of "artifact".
Prof. Bockris objects strongly to this editorial in Nature and has sent me
a copy of a letter he has written to John Maddox. He has also made a list of
experiments giving positive results. This was before the DOE panel's report,
but it is doubtful if this will change believers opinions.
Am told informally that the circulation of Nature has increased since cold
fusion began on March 23 [have ordered it myself]. It would be interesting to
see a graph of the circulation as a function of time
6. OTHER ITEMS
6.1 Situation in Utah
Have received mail about the situation in Utah. Apparently large
sections of the population believe that the energy problem has been solved
and cold fusion will be developed in Utah to produce power economically.
Again this shows the great power of the media and the need for responsible
Science reporting where the reporter does not simply reproduce what he is
told uncritically, but checks with other experts.
I had been informed that in Brazil, a hot fusion group had interupted
their work to study cold fusion. I tried to check this with my Brazilian
neighbours, but was only told that there were experiments being done. I am now
informed by Prof. Nacimento that it was not the tokamak group, but another group
Prof. Thome of COPPE in Rio has given me a list of four groups who are doing
research in cold fusion. Some have found intriguing results and are continuing.
6.3 Search for Neutrons at Sandia
Dick Garwin has told me of a paper submitted
to Fusion Technology by Schirber et al. of Sandia National Laboratories,
entitled "Search for Cold Fusion in High Pressure D2 Loaded Ti and Pd Metal
and Hydride". No clearly identified neutron excess was observed above a
background of 10 counts per hour (the lab was underground). They specially
searched for bursts of neutrons. They conclude "It should be stressed that
without neutron counter redundancy, reports of the irreproducible generation
of neutrons, including bursts, should be treated with great skepticism". This
is what several other workers have emphasised - some times one counter gives
strange results (especially BF3 counters). It is important to design the
experiment to check for this and not to rush into publication.
6.4 Bursts of Neutrons at Los Alamos
In connection with the Sandia results,
Dick Garwin has been asking some pertinent questions of Dr. Menlove but has
not had a reply yet. I have heard from Stuart Taylor, a colleague of Steve
Jones who is collaborating with Dr. Menlove, that they are finally doing
the experiment with normal H2O. Hope they obtain the results before they get the
proofs from Nature.
Douglas R. O. Morrison.