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Nuclear Energy: Cold Fusion, It Works
by Ludovica Manusardi Carlesi
translated from Italian by Ludovica Manusardi Carlesi
Il Sole 24 Ore, Milano, Italy

May 22, 2008

Osaka, May 22: They finally did it. Yoshiaki Arata with his colleague Yue-Chang Zhang presented the first public experiment of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, better known as cold fusion.

The experiment, demonstrated in front of a qualified audience -- 60 people including physicists and reporters -- the realization of what is now known as the "Arata Phenomenon," was a success.

This was done by diffusing deuterium gas on a 7-gram sample of nanostructured powders composed of 35% palladium and 65% zirconium oxide at a pressure of 50 atmospheres, half of the pressure necessary for a pressure water cleaner used for washing cars. Then, the heat produced from the outset operated a heat engine that began to turn. After about one hour and a half the experiment was deliberately stopped to take measurements of helium-4, the signature of the fusion reaction.

No emissions from dangerous nuclear sources have been observed (helium-4 is inert). The excess energy found was about 100,000 Joules, roughly equivalent to that required to heat one liter of water to 25 degrees Celsius (for an alloy of only 7 grams!) The mass of helium gas is absolutely in line with the amount of energy produced, and it is the evident witness of the nuclear fusion.

Now, after the success of the experiment, a new chapter begins; this will deal with a complete and deep understanding of what takes place in condensed matter, a behavior which appears to differ from the model followed so far by classic nuclear physics.

Besides, another phase begins linked mainly to two different aspects: repeating the experiment with a larger amount of palladium-zirconium alloy to obtain a larger quantity of energy; and extraction of helium from the alloy without damage in order to reuse the sample.

The real test is in fact to repeat the experiment; this will convince many opponents and perhaps could lead to a future of new, clean and cheap energy generation. One of the fundamental aspects of the whole story is the financing. Many research groups all around the world fear that giving funds to the cold fusion research projects means to remove money from others, namely from the most expensive and maybe impracticable international project for nuclear fusion: ITER.


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