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Douglas R.O. Morrison's Cold Fusion Updates
No. 6—5 April 1992

Back to Morrison Index

(Source: New Energy Times)
CRITICISM OF PONS AND FLEISCHMANN'S EXPERIMENTS "DEVASTATING" JONES RESULTS DECONFIRMED.
PONS, FLEISCHMANN. PREPARATA, BRESSANI, AND DEL GIUDICE SUE FOR 8 BILLION LIRE.

SUMMARY

A group at the General Electric Company, including Fritz Will, have examined the Pons and Fleischmann's analysis and found major errors which make their claims of Cold Fusion unacceptable. Robert Park of the APS describes the GE paper as "devastating".

Steve Jones and Howard Menlove have tried to repeat their experiments claiming small yields of neutrons in the giant Japanese Kamiokande detector and after many months of trying have failed to reproduce their early results.

One asks, with the two experiments that excited world-wide attention in March 1989 now gone, can Cold Fusion survive?

Since the last Cold Fusion Update No. 5 in July 1991 after the Second Annual Conference on Cold Fusion in Como, there has been no major experiment which observed excess heat and comparable amounts of fusion products. There have been a few claims of Cold Fusion effects but the excitement was each time not sustained.

The tragic death of Andy Riley at SRI greatly saddened all who knew him.

The Third Cold Fusion Conference is scheduled to be held in Japan in October 1992. There was a "semi-secret" Cold Fusion meeting in Turin in March.

Funding continues - Stan Pons together with Martin Fleischmann, are working at the Science Research Park near Nice for a Japanese supported company. It is reported that the Electrical Power Research Institute, EPRI, has given further money, $12 million, to the Stanford Research Institute, SRI, for continuing Cold Fusion work.

Drs. Pons Fleischmann, Preparata, Bressani and del Giudice are taking legal action against the Repubblica newspaper and asking for 8000 million lire.

SUBJECTS
1. General Electric paper.
1.1 Background and Introduction
1.2 Title, Authors, Abstract
1.3 Critique of Analysis of Fleischmann and Pons
1.4 Experimental results
1.5 Reaction of Fleischmann
1.6 Conclusions
2. Kamiokande experiment for Jones and Menlove
2.1 Background and Introduction
2.2 Experimental results
2.3 Conclusions
3. Andy Riley, SRI and EPRI
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Andy Riley
3.3 Experiments at SRI
4. Other Experiments
4.1 Helium measurements of Bush et al.
4.2 Mills et al. and Tom Droege
4.3 Takahashi, Osaka
4.4 Bressani et al.
4.5 Cold Fusion in China
4.6 Withdrawal of Cluster Fusion Result
5. Books
6. Meetings, Press Conferences, Legal Actions
7. Conclusions.

1. GENERAL ELECTRIC PAPER

1.1 INTRODUCTION

After the 23 March 1989 press conference, General Electric, like many power companies, signed confidential agreements with the University of Utah. Also then sent people to work with Dr. Pons in Utah and at the same time, and completely independently, started working on Cold Fusion experiments at their Research and Development labs at Schenectady. It is the work of this latter group that will be published this spring in the Journal of Electroanalytic Chemistry. However the major part of their paper is a very detailed consideration of of the Fleischmann and Pons work where they find many errors , several of which are serious.

The GE experimental work was done on a large scale within the first year, but for a variety of reasons has not been generally available. I learnt of major errors in the Fleischmann and Pons analysis over a year ago and these have been presented to them. Publication was delayed appreciably and the final paper is carefully written. Here the rather kindly abstract will be given and then the main evidence will be presented so that everyone may judge. The authors include former GE researcher Fritz Will who after the experimental work was essentially completed, became the Director of the National Cold Fusion Institute in Salt Lake City.

1.2 TITLE, AUTHORS AND ABSTRACT

"Analysis of Experiments on Calorimetry of LiOD/D2O Electrochemical Cells
R.H. Wilson, J.W. Bray, P.G. Kosky, H.B. Vakil and F.G. Will".

Abstract

"In this paper we present a detailed analysis of calorimetry with heavy water electrolytic cells, especially of the type described by Fleischmann Pons et al. in recent publications. We also summarise our own experiments, which involve calorimetry of electrolytic cells of various designs. None of our experiments has yielded any excess heat or radiation products within the detection limits. We evaluate the data and methods of Fleischmann, Pons et al. and, where sufficient data are available, conclude that they significantly over-estimate the excess heat. This is in part because they did not include in their calibration calculation the change in input electrochemical power to the cell resulting from the calibration heater power. An additional significant overestimate of excess energy occurs when the calibration is made at cell temperatures above 60 C, due to the increased evaporation of heavy water duing the calibration. Furthermore we find unexplainable inconsistencies in the data on light water controls as reported by Fleischmann and Pons. While our analysis shows their claims of continuous heat generation to be significantly overstated, we cannot prove that no excess heat has been generated in any experiment".

1.3 Analysis of Fleischmann and Pons

A detailed discussion of the open cell used by Fleischmann and Pons is first given and it is pointed out that several terms are not properly accounted for but fortunately do not lead to significant errors. Other potential errors such as inadequate mixing and recombination are believed not to be significant. However the heat loss calibration procedure does lead to important errors, this being established partly theoretically and by experiments with cells similar to those of F&P, thus the heat loss is found to be half by radiation and half by conduction whereas F&P now treat all heat losses as radiative(in their first paper they treated all heat losses as conductive - Newton's law of Cooling). Two calibration procedures are used by F&P, firstly "approximative" and the second a very complicated multiparameter regression analysis which is said to give "exact" excess energies. The calibration depends on giving a brief additional burst of heat to the cell. This temperature change is not taken into account in the first procedure and it is shown that this error substantially reduces the excess heat claimed. Since the second method is claimed by F&P to agree very closely (few milliwatt) with the incorrect first analysis, hence there must be error(s) in the second analysis. A possible error in the second calculation which would account for this is identified.

When a correct calibration procedure is used, the excess heat claimed is significantly reduced. "Because of the paucity of experimental details in their publications, it has been difficult to determine quantitatively the effect of calibration errors" eg "they have not reported cell temperatures or calibration power" so that pictorial data have been used instead.

Several effects have been neglected by F&P, two of which are important - the reduction in resistance when the cell is heated by the calibration heater and secondly the evaporative cooling of the electrolyte important at higher operating temperatures and which is increased by the calibration heater. The magnitude of the errors caused by these neglects is such that "in some cases the errors are greater than their inferred 'excess heat'" and "in some some instances excess heat remained after correcting for these errors."

"The control experiments reported by F&P also pose a dilemma. Using their approximate method to calculate excess heats, they find no excess heat within a few milliwatts. If, however they used the procedures they describe for determining excess heat, they should have obtained significant positive values as a result of neglecting the effects described above. The results they report are inconsistent with the procedures they describe." Further embarrassing problems are also indicated.

1.4 Experimental Results

A very extensive series of experiments were performed. In one set the cells and procedures of F&P were followed - no excess heat was found. Many small variations(eg different types of palladium and different shapes, different electrolyte) were also tried and also major changes such as thermal insulation to avoid radiation effects, and closed cells with recombination catalysts and a flow cell. The current was varied between a few milliamps to 0.5 amps per cm2. The length of time was varied. "Within experimental error, no excess energy was found."

"A few experiments were carefully monitored for gamma ray and neutron production" using good techniques(particularly liked the use of Manganese nitrate solution where the 55Mn captures a neutron to give 56Mn which decays with a half-life of 154 minutes giving a gamma of 0.847 MeV - this is an energy region with little background- this is useful for integration of neutron signals; other detectors were used for direct neutron detection). Activation foils were also used. "Nothing was found above background". "Many of the electrolytes were checked for tritium build-up. No increase above concentration by electrolysis was found". "Nor was the concentration of 4He in the Pd rods found to be above background."

1.5 Reaction of Fleischmann

Business Week of March 2nd reported that "there's bad news ahead for cold fusion" and then talked about the conclusions of the GE paper - the reporter did not seem to have read the paper himself. The article continued that Pons and Fleischmann asked the journal to let them write a rebuttel - but they have not done so yet. Fleischmann is quoted as saying "Those people have got mental constipation about this thing". Hope this is not a correct quotation as have always found Martin a charming person, but have found that some people who have no answer to scientific evidence against their work, do react this way. Sad, it would have been pleasanter to see a scientific reply.

1.6 Conclusions

There are two parts to the GE paper. Their experimental results are very extensive, some of them copying the P&F experiments, others are superior; all give no evidence for excess heat or for fusion products. It might be thought that this should be enough convince even True Believers that there is nothing there, but this has already happened with the Harwell experiments led by David Williams who was helped by Fleischmann before the 23 March 1989 press conference, and whose group also did a very large number of experiments, some the same as P&F and others better - and TB's ignore or discount this work.

However the main thrust of the GE paper is to show that the analysis of the calorimetry had many errors some were so serious that when the P&F data were corrected the excess heat claimed became sometimes a negative effect and sometimes a positive effect so that the conclusion was that one cannot trust the results.

In the Abstract it is written that "we cannot prove that no excess heat has been generated in any experiments". This statement, which unintentionally, has some legal use, covers the fact that the paper was concerned with the main claim of Cold Fusion, that a steady source of power was possible. The GE paper does not discuss the question of heat bursts. Thus the real question is; "Can the P&F experiments be considered to give trustworthy evidence in favour of the existence of Cold Fusion as a steady source of power?" The GE analysis shows that the P&F work is so full of errors that it is not clear whether they found a positive or a negative effect as is shown clearly in their table 2. In other words the uncertainties are so great that the P&F work cannot be used as a justification for the existence of Cold Fusion.

There is also the embarrassing matter that the control experiments which were said to show no effect, should have shown an effect if they had been analysed the way that P&F said they had analysed them. The GE authors say that is in principle possible to obtain results on excess heat with the Pons and Fleischmann type cells, but it is complicated and needs to be done properly, which was not the case. Many times it has been suggested that Drs. Pons and Fleischmann do a good experiment with a closed cell and several constant temperature baths surrounding the cell for then the corrections become fewer and small. Also they should much use bigger cells so that the effects are clear - but they have only reported results from the original small cells which gave excess heat with the errors in calculation.

The GE paper is not a light paper, the appendixes contain very detailed work. The GE authors are major experienced researchers in this field. It is surprising that no response has been made since Drs. Pons and Fleischmann have been aquainted with these difficulties and have been in possession of the GE paper for some considerable time.

The overall conclusion must be that there is no good evidence for useful excess heat or fusion products in the Fleischmann and Pons experiments.

2. KAMIOKANDE EXPERIMENTS OF JONES AND MENLOVE

2.1 Background and Introduction

The Kamiokande detector is a tank of 3000 tons of very pure water in whose walls are many photomultipliers which can detect Cherenkov radiation produced by electrons. The experimental team is large and well-funded. They have done outstandingly good work in neutrino detection. They detected (along with the IMB detector) neutrinos from Supernova 1987A. They have also detected neutrinos from the Sun and have shown that there is no variation with time (in particular not with the inverse of the sunspot number as had been surprisingly claimed by another experiment). Also their measured flux of solar neutrinos is in agreement with Evolutionary model(SSM) calculations of the Saclay group though some other SSM predict higher neutrino fluxes. Thus their experiment is playing a major role in the important question of whether there is a solar neutrino problem or not. The question is important as the solar neutrino problem is the only major result where there may be disagreement with the Standard Model of particle physics.

The Kamiokande detector was off for a year and half to improve and maintain the detector. During this time an installation was made in the centre of the Kamiokande detector where Cold Fusion cells could be installed and surrounded by a sodium chloride solution. If any neutrons were given off by the Cold Fusion cells they would be detected by capture by the 35Cl giving off energetic gammas producing electrons which the photomultipliers would detect by their Cherenkov rings. The system has been calibrated using a 252Cf source and the efficiency for neutron detection is about 20%.

The Kamiokande detector is so big that the Cold Fusion work does not seriously interfere with the Solar Neutrino and Supernova watch activities. For the period January to end May 1991, Kamiokande effectively ran for 99 days for neutrinos and 2 days for Cold Fusion (during neutrino running the Cold Fusion cells were normally running but not interfering with the main work of Kamiokande). It is expected that Cold Fusion measurement will continue until April 1992.

The emission of neutrons from Cold Fusion cells is highly controversial. Most workers did not find neutrons above background but a considerable number of claims were made, several of which have been withdrawn (eg the original claim of 40 000 neutrons/second of F&P). Of the positive claims, some of the lowest rates are from the original 1989 paper of Jones et al. in Nature. However other groups (eg Moshe Gai at Yale, the Frejus/Bugey group) obtain no neutron signal and give upper limits which are one to two order of magnitude lower.

Jones et al. claimed to measure in Run No. 6 a flux of neutrons of
Run No. 6 (4.1 +/- 0.8 )*10**-3 n/s above background
Background (1.4 +/- 0.13)*10**-3 n/s.

Later this rate was lowered by averaging over the other runs where no significant effect had been observed and this gives
Average (0.62 +/- 0.1)*10**-3 n/s above background
that is an average which is less than half the background.

As the efficiency was only (1 +/- 0.3)%, this meant that the corrected counting rate was about 0.1 neutrons/second. Kamiokande which has a detector efficiency of about 20%, proposed that with their detector they could obtain a background 10 000 times less. The limit of their neutron sensitivity was expected to be 4*10**-5 n/s with a threshold energy of 7 MeV.

Later Steve Jones joined with the Howard Menlove group at Los Alamos and discovered bursts of neutrons. In the summer of 1990 graphs were presented showing bursts of 20 to 149 neutrons observed being emitted in less than 128 microseconds. As the efficiency of the counters was between 21 and 34%, this means bursts of 100 neutrons or more were frequently being observed. Such bursts would be easily detected by the Kamiokande detector.

2.2 Experimental Results

The first experiments were said to be of gas and titanium, but with relative lack of success, and electrolytic cells were tried including some with the "mother earth" type recipe.

First results were presented by Dr. Ikegami at the Second Annual Cold Fusion Conference with a newspaper article claiming that Kamiokande had detected neutrons - this caused quite some excitement but is not included in the published proceedings. However it turned out that these were observed as "bursts" of 2, 3 or 4 neutrons (one neutron is excluded as a "burst"). Now if Uranium (or plutonium) were present as a contaminant in the cell (eg in the Palladium) then as the number of neutrons per fusion can be as large as 6 (or 7), this would account for the effect. The Kamiokande group have already taken enormous precautions to reduce the background from U or Pu and it is sited at a depth of 2700 mwe in the Kamioka mine and is surrounded by a shield of 6 to 7 metres of U-free water so that the background can be as low as one count per year. Quickly it was learnt that neutrons were also detected when H2O and not D2O was used which would appear to confirm that the bursts were not from fusion but from contamination. This is contested by Steve Jones who feels that the data may be significant and one should wait. The prelimainary data that I have seen show that relatively little running was done with H2O so that the statistics are not very significant

However after this excitement, the main result tended to get lost that the counting rate was less than one-hundredth of that claimed in the 1989 paper of Jones et al. Thus after more than two years development work, and the insertion of many cells in Kamiokande, the original claim presented in 1989 cannot be justified.

A second main result is that large bursts (here taken as > 27 neutrons) as claimed in the 1990 paper of Menlove et al. cannot be justified as no large burst has been observed.

Steve Jones claims that small bursts (defined as 2 to 10 neutrons) are being observed and the rates are being studied. We shall have to wait and see if some new effect will be claimed at a much lower rate than the previous claims. No statement has been made about intermediate bursts (11 to 26 neutrons).

Have been exchanging many messages with Steve - he is genuinely anxious to find out the truth and discuss in a scientific manner (this does not mean he agrees with my conclusions - his position is unclear to me)

At present some surprising tests are being made using cells filled with concrete. The basic idea is the hope that this would represent in some way what is happening in the earth where Jones et al. claim fusion may be occurring. It is well known that concrete contains radioactive materials, in particular thorium. It is surprising that such an uncontrolled substance is being introduced into Kamiokande which makes such efforts to remove contamination. It is to be hoped that this does not interfere with Kamiokande's main mission to study neutrinos.

2.3 CONCLUSIONS

It must be concluded that the original work on low level neutron counting is not confirmed by a large margin due to the high quality and enormous size of the Kamiokande detector.

This is not the conclusion of Steve Jones who claims some possible effects and that more time and work is needed. What I have seen of these claims makes them look like statistical fluctuations combined with trials of a number of data selections, but there could be other data which has not yet been presented. However whether there are or are not such very low level effects, this does not change the two main conclusions that the level of neutrons observed in 1989 and the level of bursts claimed in 1990, have been disproved by the same experimenters working with numerous cells tested for long periods of time in the Kamiokande detector under favourable conditions.

3. ANDY RILEY, SRI AND EPRI

3.1 INTRODUCTION

The Stanford Research Institute, SRI, does research for agents that give it funding. Thus it is not an academic establishment with a commitment to making available all its results without the agreement of its funding organisations. The Electrical Power Research Institute, EPRI, is the agent of the power companies and has many activities. It has been sponsoring research in Cold Fusion and in particular has been giving appreciable funds to Mike McKubre's group at SRI. In Business Week of 2 March it is written that EPRI will give $3 million to SRI for this year and there is talk of $12 million over three years.

3.2 Andy Riley

Andy Riley was a materials scientist. He was employed by the National Cold Fusion Research Institute in Utah. It was there that I got to know and like him. He was not concerned about the reality or not of Cold Fusion, but was greatly interested in the materials research work that he could do. He was very knowledgable and it was a pleasure to learn from him. He had a great love of the desert and it was he who persuaded me to spend a weekend visiting the Southern Utah desert - he was right, it is splendid.

After NCFI closed down, Andy went to work at SRI. Newspaper reports quote firemen as saying that the explosion which killed Andy was due to the removal of a cell from its container as Andy had found an automatic pressure relief valve had stuck and was trying to open it manually. Happened to be in Palo Alto a week later for a seminar and phoned Mike McKubre who was one of those injured in the explosion. This was Mike's first day back at work and fortunately he was much better. He told me that SRI was now going to start its investigations and the conclusions might be different.

At no time did anyone suggest that the explosion had any connection with the existence or not of Cold Fusion.

It is interesting to recall that in 1989 among the thorough experiments of many German groups (all of which found nothing) was the work of Kreysa, Marx and Plieth of Frankfurt and Berlin who took a deuterium-loaded palladium sheet and placed it on a table where it burnt the table. The point is that considerable energy is stored in the palladium when the deuterium is driven in by electrolysis and when the Pd sheet is removed the energy raises the temperature of the palladium which then becomes an efficient catalyser for hydrogen and oxygen (in the air) to burn. This is the principle of the flameless catalytic combustion of hydrogen which is used in catalytic hydrogen burners. The experimenters then found that if after extracting a D-loaded Pd sheet and placing it on glass rods, a temperature rise of the palladium from 20 C to 418 C occurred within 74 seconds after an incubation time of 15 seconds. There are many reports of Cold Fusion cells exploding and everyone should be aware of the potential dangers and take precautions.

We all grieve for the loss of Andy Riley.

3.3 EXPERIMENTS AT SRI

The fact that EPRI is giving large grants to SRI and that they refer obliquely to results that justify this funding, raise interest in the work at SRI.

In an account of the 2nd Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, 2ACCF, in Update No. 5, it was written that "This was perhaps the most impressive positive result." This has now been published in pages 419 to 443 of "The Science of Cold Fusion" - the 2ACCF proceedings. Again it reads very impressively saying the positive excess heat occurs at high D/Pd loading, greater than one. the loading was measured by the axial resistivity and by volumetric displacement of gas during loading in a closed system at constant volume and pressure. Andy Riley once commented to me that axial resistivity was not a reliable measurement as there was also radial distortion that had to be taken into account.

It seems that the high loading was achieved by using "substantial current densities(typically 300 to 600 mA/cm2, but up to 6400 mA/cm2) for considerable periods of time(typically 1000-2000 hours)" and also with high pressures from 40 to 10 000 psi above atmospheric pressure. The effect of high pressure alone has been tried at much higher values - at Harvard 105 000 atmospheres(1.6 million psi) gave a loading of 1.34 +/- 0.1 and at Los Alamos a megabar was achieved for 14 microseconds, but in both cases negligible numbers of neutrons were produced and at Harvard no excess heat was found with an upper limit of 1.6*10**-8 fusions/dd pair/second. It is of course obvious that very high pressures would not be suitable for confinement of a commercial fusion process as the strength of the walls would decrease with bombardment by fusion products.

The calorimetry used in the experiments was much superior to any other experiment that had claimed excess heat as it used closed cells and insulation and a surrounding isothermal bath. However as there was only one bath, there was needed a "effective conductive loss term, k'. The conductive power loss for the large calorimeters was typically 3 to 5% of the total input power. The accuracy claimed was the greater of 10mW or 0.1%.

While the calorimeters were greatly superior to previous ones giving positive results, they could still be substantially improved by following the Harwell design as used by David Williams. These had the following features;

1. The best measurements avoid corrections by trying to make null measurements as in the Wheatstone bridge. Thus the Harwell calorimeter kept the temperature of the inner isothermal bath constant by varying the input power which then compensated any excess heat produced

2. There were three constant temperature baths

3. Calibration was done by inserting a known source of heat into the calorimeter - this could be a calibrated alpha source.

In view of the substantial sums being invested by EPRI, it is to be hoped that these improvements will be tried.

The 2ACCF paper states that typical excess output power was 5 to 10% with a maximum of 28%. However could not find in the paper the value of the excess power integrated over the whole period of each experiment(which is the number of importance for commercial applications, but at 2ACCF, was told that it was between 1% and 2 to 3%. Such values are too low to be of commercial use which would require more like the values of 300 to 900% originally claimed in March 1989.

4. OTHER EXPERIMENTS

There have been fewer new experimental results published recently. Dieter Britz who now has a total of 688 papers and 96 patents/applications says it is now a "trickle". None of these recent papers are complete experiments or very convincing (apart from the GE complete work and the high quality Kamiokande experiment). However some have attracted attention and will be presented.

4.1 HELIUM MEASUREMENMTS OF BUSH et al.

Drs. Bush and Lagowski of Univ. of Texas at Austin have been looking for helium in the electrolysis experiments of Drs. Miles and Ostrom at the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, CA. They claim to find 4He when excess heat is observed. John Huizengz has criticised the experiments saying the level is very low and helium contamination is a possible explanation - this is strongly denied by Bush et al. The outgoing gasses from the cell are collected for about an hour in a 0.5 litre vessel. It is said that amounts of < 10**12, 10**12, 10**13 and 10**14 atoms of 4helium are found corresponding to no peak, small, medium and large peaks in the spectrometer and there is a correlation with the amount of excess power - the values given for excess power were (0.07 and 0.29 W), (0.12 and 0.17 W), (0.24 and 0.40 W) and (0.22, 0.36, 0.46 and 0.52 W) resp. There is a correlation but it is a poor one and it would appear that the relationship was more of a power law than a linear one as might be expected. If all the reactions were d + d ---> 4He + 23.8 MeV then it is claimed that the highest excess power would yield 5.4 10**14 atoms and "About 10**14 atoms were detected which is within experimental error of then theoretical amount." - this is the nearest one gets to an estimate of errors in the 2ACCF paper.

No 3He was found - this is curious as experiments on dd fusion find that 10**7 times as much 3He should be produced as 4He.

The experiment looks very simple and it is to be hoped that the authors will continue it with better apparatus for a longer time since if their result were correct it should be easily possible to produce large ammounts of helium which would put the matter beyond doubt.

4.2 MILLS et al. and TOM DROEGE

For a while there was some excitement when Mills et al. announced significant excess heat and then Tom Droege with his very high quality calorimeter, confirmed it. But further work by Tom showed there were fatal problems with the calibration procedures or to be more precise an invalid correction. The calorimeter built by Tom is accurate down to near the milliwatt level and is beautifully instrumented as can be seen on pages 243 to 248 of "The Science of Cold Fusion". Tom has a very good reputation in Fermilab, for example for the work he did for the giant CDF detector which one hopes will be able to find the long sought after top quark.

4.3 TAKAHASHI et al., OSAKA

In February Dr. Ikegami gave a talk at Frascati which people who doubted Cold Fusion, found impressive. The highlight of the talk was a description of the results of the group of Dr. Takahashi at Osaka University. They have done four experiments and have presented results on neutrons, tritium and excess heat plus a theory that explains all results. In the early runs peaks in the neutron spectrum were observed at 2.45 MeV as expected from d + d ---> 3He + n, and over the region 3 to 7 MeV which is not expected. In the fourth experiment excess heat of 200W per cc of Pd was observed and more than 100 MJ of heat produced. Tritium was also observed with a ratio n/t of 10**-5. The neutrons were observed at a rate of 1 to 100 n/s/cc. It was claimed that there was a correlation between neutron production and excess heat but the fig. 1 of the paper seems to prove the contrary, the highest neutron rate being near the lowest excess heat claimed. In another transparency it was noted that when the power increases the neutron production decreases - this is contrary to all previous experience of believers and non-believers.

The electrolysis cells have cooling water passing through them and the temperature of the incoming and outgoing water is measured and after calculation the excess heat is deduced. The cells are basically similar to those of Pons and Fleischmann in being open and poorly insulated. Hence all the comments and criticisms of the GE scientists would have to be considered before any claim could be evaluated. In the description available there is not enough detail to follow how all the calibration and heat loss calculations were done, so a serious account of the work, mentioning the GE considerations, is needed before the claims of excess heat could be justified.

A theory is proposed that explains all the results including the n/t ratio of 10**-5 and the n/f ratio of 10**-12 (where f is the rate of fusions expected in the reaction d + d ---> 3He + n ). The model assumes "multibody fusions" where not only do d-d fuse but also three and four deuterons, ie d-d-d and d-d-d-d. The four atom fusion is calculated to give a megaWatt per cc while ordinary water would yield a kiloWatt per cc because of the one atom in 6700 which is deuterium. Normal considerations of barrier penetration do not seem to have been considered in this theory which is liable to find few supporters even among True Believers - but one never knows.

4.4 BRESSANI ET AL.

T. Bressani et al. have carried out experiments to measure the energy of neutrons emitted from Ti metal loaded with gaseous deuterium ie following the ideas temperature cycling of Dr. Scaramuzzi. They use a neutron spectrometer with time of flight and double scattering technique. They report a two and a half standard deviation effect corresponding to 1.3 +/- 0.5 neutron per second per gram of Ti - this would correspond to about 10**-12 watts for the reaction d + d ---> 3He + n, they do not report searching for 3He.

The D2 gas pressure used by Bressani et al. was very low with a maximum value of only 1.5 10**3 Torr. They remark that the volume and pressure measurments give a D/Ti loading of only 0.32 which they comment is "totally inconsistent with the Ti-H phase diagram", but the low loading seems consistent with the low loadings for similar pressures used by Steve Jones and collaborators. It seems slightly inconsistent for Dr. Bressani to have employed such a low loading value when he strongly emphasises the necessity of high loadings to obtain the threshold value that is claimed to be necessary to observe Cold Fusion.

Many groups have reported not finding any neutrons when adopting the Scaramuzzi technique and some have upper limits less than one thousandth of the Scaramuzzi claim. As the early reports of Scaramuzzi claimed 5000 neutrons per second using 100 grams of Ti, Dr. T. Bressani must be congratulated for joining the experimental groups that have found different results from Dr. Scaramuzzi - it is surprising that he has not made a comparison of his result with that of the earlier paper which would have allowed him to make a comment himself.

4.5 COLD FUSION IN CHINA

While at the Pugwash Conference talked with Dr. Li who is the leader of the Chinese scientist working on Cold Fusion. He told me that there were very little funds available. The apparatus used is rather primitive and few results are emerging.

4.6 WITHDRAWAL OF CLUSTER FUSION RESULT

In an errata in Physical Review Letters(in press), the group at Brookhaven that had claimed to have observed fusion when using clusters of D2O to bombard targets, have withdrawn their observation for technical reasons. The problem was light contaminant ions containing deuterium.

This puzzling result which could not be quite explained, was described as cold or lukewarm fusion and was not considered central to the debate about the existance or non-existance of Cold Fusion.

5. BOOKS

Hear that John Huizenga's long-awaited book on Cold Fusion has finally been published. It is an excellent serious book for those interested in Science (and psychology). A must for those involved in Cold Fusion as well as for others.

Gary Taubes phoned me about another subject (neutrinos). His book has unfortunately been delayed until later this year.

Saw Frank Close's book on the shelves in Geneva - good for you Frank!

The proceedings of the Second Annual Cold Fusion conference last June at the Villa Olmo in Como, have now appeared. The dust jacket is very tasteful with delicate images of Volta (a special hero in Como), a cold fusion cell with all the parts labelled, the original 1989 Jones et al. neutron result, Scaramuzzi's controversial plot, something that has a vague resemblence to a Feynman graph but I doubt if he would acknowledge it, etc. The main heavy writing on the cover which stands out well is
THE SCIENCE OF COLD FUSION
and the publishers title. There are 527 pages.

6. MEETINGS, PRESS CONFERENCES, LEGAL ACTIONS

There was a "semi-secret" meeting lasting three and a half days in Turin on Cold Fusion early in March. It was attended by about 40 people, mainly local but some foreigners such as Stan Pons also attended. Was told that there was not very much new. Although the press attended, it was not widely advertised - not even in the University of Turin!

The account of the Turin meeting in a newspaper of 17 March said that it was organised by the Turin section of the INFN and was called "Cold Fusion Three Years After". The participants were described as being under tension and prudent like the adepts of a secret society who are sure of their ultimate triumph. They were particularly encouraged by the new results from Osaka indicating excess heat of 100 Watts per cm3.

At a press interview, Dr. Pons said there were no more doubts; he took a sabbatical from Utah to open a lab in Nice. There are about 10 people working there with important financial backing from Technova - a company that finances research for some Japanese industrial groups. They have developed a new type of electrolytic cell with Palladium to obtain a kilowatt per cc of electrode. Reproducibility has been attained at 100% and depends on a new type of Palladium alloy. He said that to understand the new phenomenon one must put aside classical fusion reactions in a vacuum and think of alternatives. Preparata's ideas can explain the results. Dr. Pons said the aim was to present to the public a practical application before the end of the year. He also said other labs had prototypes and quoted McKubre at SRI and Bressani at Turin. Prof. Bressani, who was introduced as leader of the Obelix experiment at CERN, Geneva, confirmed that his group had interesting effects from a cell with D2 gas and Titanium of the type proposed by Dr. Scaramuzzi, but said that it would need more time to construct a demonstration cell.

Heard about it only because I was invited to give a seminar at Turin reviewing Cold Fusion and some people were astonished when they were told about the meeting two weeks after it had occurred. The seminar was well received except that a True believer, TB, came forward at the end and made comments of a violence that astonished his colleagues. His essential point was that I was biased as I had not mentioned recent work including his own, reporting evidence for Cold Fusion. Tried to explain that my talk was based on the one I gave at the Sakharov Conference last summer, consisted of three main parts, (1) a summary of ALL results, positive and null(with upper limits often lower than the positive values), (2) for the period since then, only good experiments with complete, careful calibration and controls, (3) understanding of the results in human terms. As Dr. Ikegami had recently given a lecture at Frascati which was written up in the newspapers on recent research on Cold Fusion in Japan and in particular had spent some time reporting on the results of Dr. Takahashi of Osaka, I showed in reply, 5 transparencies showing his results and explaining the problems that had led me to exclude it from the "good" experiments. The TB was not satisfied and continued in the same violent manner. Afterwards (too late) noticed that he had not questioned anything that was presented in the seminar and in particular not the "devasting" results of the GE analysis of Pons and Fleischmann's work. The seminar finally lasted longer than normally scheduled, two hours but it was observed to me that almost no one left before the end!

Have received an invitation from Dr. Ikegami who is head of one section of the Japanese National Fusion Institute in Nagoya, to attend the Third International Cold Fusion Conference which will be held in Nagoya from 21 to 25 October 1992. "The conference will cover the broadest topics relevant to Cold Fusion phenomena in the research fields including nuclear physics, electrochemistry, and solid state physics". As the organising body is the very serious National Institute for Fusion Science which has done excellent work on Inertial Confinement, etc., it may be expected that this will be a serious conference where the organisers will ensure that the conference will be balanced and that all points of view and both null and positive experiments will be reported and discussed. If these justified hopes are fulfilled, it could be a significant conference and it is to be hoped that many who have worked at some time or other on Cold Fusion will attend. Dr. Ikegami is chairman of the conference. The Fax address is 052 781 9564 and the Email address is ikegami@nifs.ac.jp

When in Turin learnt that the important newspaper Repubblica is being sued by 5 True Believers for defamation. They are Martin Fleischmann, Stanley Pons Guiliano Preparata, Tullio Bressani, and Emilio del Giudice. This arose from an article in Repubblica where Cold Fusion was defined as a "truffa scientifica" which I am told means "scientific fraud". It appeared on the 20 October 1991. It was said that the results of Pons and Fleischmann cannot be reproduced in any other laboratory. Later another article based on a letter from Believers was entitled "No, we are not False Prophets", but the comment was apparently not withdrawn. Now the newspaper is being sued for a total of eight billion lire which is roughly five million US dollars - this is made up of 2 billion lires for P&F and one billion for Preparata, Bressani and del Giudice plus 200 million for each of the five for repeated violence.

Personally I am against such legal proceedings. It would be much better to wait until the end of this year and see the prototype of Dr. Pons actually giving a kilowatt per cc - preferably a big prototype with many cc giving many kilowatts such as Dr. Pons has been photographed with. Wonder if the Five and Repubblica have read the article in Nature of 19 March, Vol. 356, page 191 where the definition of scientific fraud is discussed. A US senior federal advisory committee has proposed that a strict-constructionist definition of fraud be adopted, namely "plagiarism, the fabrication or intentional falsification of data, research procedures or data analysis, or other deliberate misrepresentations in proposing, conducting, reporting or reviewing research". This report will go to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, he is concerned mainly with health and biomedical agencies.

POST-SCRIPT

On the SCI_FUSION net, some of the above stories from a press conference in Turin, were "confirmed" by an account with the heading Washington beginning "At a packed press conference today (March 27) in the nation's capitol, leading Italian physicist Dr. Giuliano Preparata announced dramatic new steps forward in the develoPment of cold fusion as a practical, cheap source of clean energy", "Speaking at the National Press Club". Dr. Eugene Mallove, former chief press officer of MIT who wrote the book "Fire from Ice" in favour of cold fusion, also spoke and said he hoped to repeat the results of Dr. Takahashi from Osaka, before the April 15 when Dr. Takahashi is scheduled to give a talk at MIT. "Mallove and Preparata attacked the vicious witch-hunt conducted in the US and Europe against the scientists who had the courage to attest to the reality of this revolutionary new science, and then were subject to persecution similar to that which drove the two pioneers to leave the United States."

The press report finished "You are dealing with a subtle process here which must be explained by real scientific thinking", "For the sake of your children, for the sake of the future of humanity, we must fight this stranglehold on science that affects us all."

Jon Webb then pointed out that "this article was taken from the New Federalist, a publication of the political extremist Lyndon LaRouche." "if the press conference was packed, why haven't there been any other stories about it?" Mr. LaRouche is described in one of the associated magazines as "a political prisoner in federal prison in Rochester, Minn." - others say the long jail sentance has something to do with tax.

POST-SCRIPT 2

Have just received on the net, the text of the proposed change to the Law which would favour Fusion. The phrase "Cold Fusion" is not mentioned, but it is easy to see it would help people doing such experiments. The title is "Replacement of Public Law 96-389, sec 3, Oct. 7, 1980, 95Stat 1540 Chapter 101 -- Fusion Energy Engineering." "(The purpose of this revision of 03/26/92 is to provide small grants to fusion innovators who possess fusion technology patents, allowing them to devote more time and effort in the pursuit of private capital sources)".

It says that preference should be given to aneutronic fusion - which is defined as "any fuel which when burnt in a fusion energy system, produces neutron radiation carrying away less than 10% of the produced energy." The figure of 10% seems very high for an aneutronic reaction which means no neutrons. It would allow more than 10**16 neutrons per second from a megawatt power plant which would be a major radiation hazard and would damage the materials used in the construction.

"Every US citizen possessing a patent for a fusion energy system is to be provided with full reimboursement of all tax-deductible expenses incurred in the pursuit of the patent, up to a maximum of $100,000"

"(2) to stimulate private sector investment in fusion energy technology by awarding substantial prizes for significant technical achievement and matching private investment with public grants" The prizes are substantial 12 of them each of $100,000,000.

At the Nevada nuclear test range, 100 acres should be made available at a "cost of no more than $1000 per month to lease per acre, including all user fees." This shall "be remote enough that the instantaneous release of 1 gram of tritium gas per month will pose no significant health risk to those outside the test range."

There would be 10 monthly auctions of "10 kilograms of Helium-3". Curious.

7. CONCLUSIONS

The major recent event is that the two original experiments of Pons and Fleischmann and of Jones et al., seem both to have been discredited.

If there was no effect there to confirm, it is not surprising that the majority of experiments found nothing.

The fact that a minority of experiments found some evidence that appeared to confirm the two original experiments, is not unusual in these kind of affairs.

New experiments are decreasing to a "trickle" but it seems the band of True Believers has decided on an active campaign using the media. One wonders if some of them are becoming associated with Lyndon LaRouche or only adopting his style. The well-funded journals, New Federalist and 21st Century Science and Technology, which support LaRouche, have been most generous in their support of Cold Fusion

Expect that the Third Cold Fusion conference will take place. Since it is under the auspices of the very respectable Japanese National Institute for Fusion Reseach, it is to be expected that the meeting will be conducted in a normal scientific manner - that the programme committee will contain both people who believe in Cold Fusion and those who do not. Similarly one can expect invited speakers from the main experiments that do and do not find Cold Fusion effects. It should be an interesting meeting which will do honour to its sponsors.

Douglas R.O. Morrison.