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Science and Energy News in the Media

2011

Click on any headline to read the entire article.

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Police have 3rd suspect in Eugene Mallove killing
By Greg Smith
Norwich Bulletin
Friday, May 20, 2011

Norwich, Conn. — The New London County State’s Attorney’s Office has signed a warrant charging a former Taftville man as the third person responsible in the 2004 slaying of Eugene Mallove, a state prosecutor confirmed Friday.

State prosecutor Paul Narducci said Mozzelle Brown will be charged with felony murder based on an arrest warrant affidavit prepared by Norwich police detectives working on one of the city’s more notorious cold cases.

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Drumbeat of Nuclear Fallout Fear Doesn’t Resound With Experts
By William J. Broad
The New York Times
Monday, May 2, 2011

The nuclear disaster in Japan has sent waves of radiation and dread around the globe, prompting so many people to buy radiation detectors and potassium iodide to fend off thyroid cancer that supplies quickly sold out.

The fear is unwarranted, experts say. People in Japan near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have reason to worry about the consequences of radiation leaks, scientists say, and some reactor workers, in particular, may suffer illness. But outside of Japan, the increase is tiny, compared with numerous other sources of radiation, past and present.

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Unsafe at Any Dose
By Helen Caldicott
The New York Times
Saturday, April 30, 2011

Six weeks ago, when I first heard about the reactor damage at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, I knew the prognosis: If any of the containment vessels or fuel pools exploded, it would mean millions of new cases of cancer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Many advocates of nuclear power would deny this. During the 25th anniversary last week of the Chernobyl disaster, some commentators asserted that few people died in the aftermath, and that there have been relatively few genetic abnormalities in survivors’ offspring. It’s an easy leap from there to arguments about the safety of nuclear energy compared to alternatives like coal, and optimistic predictions about the health of the people living near Fukushima.

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Culture of Complicity Tied to Stricken Nuclear Plant
By Norimitsu Onishi and Ken Belson
The New York Times
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TOKYO — Given the fierce insularity of Japan’s nuclear industry, it was perhaps fitting that an outsider exposed the most serious safety cover-up in the history of Japanese nuclear power. It took place at Fukushima Daiichi, the plant that Japan has been struggling to get under control since last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

In 2000, Kei Sugaoka, a Japanese-American nuclear inspector who had done work for General Electric at Daiichi, told Japan’s main nuclear regulator about a cracked steam dryer that he believed was being concealed. If exposed, the revelations could have forced the operator, Tokyo Electric Power, to do what utilities least want to do: undertake costly repairs.

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Nuclear's green cheerleaders forget Chernobyl at our peril
By John Vidal
The Guardian (U.K.)
Friday, April 1, 2011

Every day there are more setbacks to solving the Japanese nuclear crisis and it's pretty clear that the industry and governments are telling us little; have no idea how long it will take to control; or what the real risk of cumulative contamination may be.

The authorities reassure us by saying there is no immediate danger and a few absolutist environmentalists obsessed with nuclear power because of the urgency to limit emissions repeat the industry mantra that only a few people died at Chernobyl – the worst nuclear accident in history. Those who disagree are smeared and put in the same camp as climate change deniers.

I prefer the words of Alexey Yablokov, member of the Russian academy of sciences, and adviser to President Gorbachev at the time of Chernobyl: "When you hear 'no immediate danger' [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can."

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No Threat From Japanese Radiation Spread Across US
By Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press Science Writer
ABC News
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Traces of radioactive material from the endangered Japanese nuclear plant are being detected from coast to coast in the United States and in Iceland, but amounts continue to be far below levels that would cause health problems.

The development of super-sensitive equipment to detect radiation is both a blessing and a curse, allowing scientists to monitor materials released in nuclear accidents, but also causing unnecessary worry, said Kathryn Higley, director of the nuclear engineering and radiation health physics at Oregon State University.

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Japanese Rules for Nuclear Plants Relied on Old Science
By Norimitsu Onishi and James Glanz
The New York Times
Saturday, March 26, 2011

TOKYO — In the country that gave the world the word tsunami, the Japanese nuclear establishment largely disregarded the potentially destructive force of the walls of water. The word did not even appear in government guidelines until 2006, decades after plants — including the Fukushima Daiichi facility that firefighters are still struggling to get under control — began dotting the Japanese coastline.

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Countering Radiation Fears With Just the Facts
By Denise Grady
The New York Times
Saturday, March 26, 2011

As soon as David J. Brenner heard about the undersea earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated northern Japan on March 11, he checked a map of the region’s nuclear power plants. One, because of its coastal location and reactor design, looked particularly vulnerable: Fukushima Daiichi. He hoped he was wrong.

Less than a day later, ominous reports of failed cooling systems and radiation leaks at that plant began to emerge. Dr. Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University — the oldest and largest such center in the world — found himself called on repeatedly to explain what was happening with the failed reactors and to assess the radiation risk to public health, both in Japan and around the world.

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A Different Kind of Nuclear Reactor in China
By Frank O'Connell
The New York Times
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rather than using fuel rods encased in water as in most reactors, engineers in China are building pebble-bed reactors that use billiard ball-size fuel spheres known as pebbles. Amassing these pebbles inside the reactor creates nuclear fission, which heats a gas. The gas in turn heats water into steam, driving a turbine. The reactor core consists of 420,000 of these fuel spheres, and every 15 seconds one is removed and replaced by another one. Experts say these reactors offer a safer nuclear alternative.

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Pressing Ahead Where Others Have Failed
By Keith Bradsher
The New York Times
Thursday, March 24, 2011

SHIDAO, China — In pursuing pebble-bed nuclear reactors, China is pressing ahead with a nuclear technology that other countries have struggled to master. In some ways, its progress is a result of being less adventurous than foreign researchers.

Rather than heating water, as conventional reactors do, pebble-bed systems heat gas. And for decades, Western engineers studied pumping the hot gas directly through a turbine to produce electricity. Most recently South Africa tried this approach, only to experience huge cost overruns that led to its program being largely shut down last year.

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Fukushima radioactive fallout nears Chernobyl levels
By Debora MacKenzie
New Scientist
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Japan's damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima has been emitting radioactive iodine and caesium at levels approaching those seen in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Austrian researchers have used a worldwide network of radiation detectors – designed to spot clandestine nuclear bomb tests – to show that iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl.

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A Debate on the Future of Nuclear Energy
March 21-April 11, 2011

George Monbiot and Dr. Helen Caldicott exchange views in The Guardian (U.K.), Democracy Now and monbiot.com.

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Radiation fears may be greatly exaggerated
By Julie Steenhuysen
Reuters
Friday, March 18, 2011

As workers struggle to contain the fallout from the crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, people as far away as Illinois are calling public health officials in a state of panic.

They are hoping to get their hands on potassium iodide pills to protect them from radiation -- despite warnings that, in the absence of a real nuclear threat, taking the medicine is riskier than doing nothing.

Sixty-six years after the first atomic bomb exploded over the city of Hiroshima, radiation spooks people everywhere. But the anxiety is largely disproportionate to the actual danger.

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California seeing no radiation level increase
By Fredrik Dahl and Nichola Groom
Reuters
Friday, March 18, 2011

California air quality officials said on Friday they saw no elevated radiation levels on the U.S. West Coast from Japan's nuclear power plant disaster.

"At this point we're unable to verify if there are any elevated levels," said Ralph Borrmann, a spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in San Francisco. "We're not seeing it on our live data in California."

Radiation levels have not shown an increase at any of the monitoring stations up and down the West Coast, he added.

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Last Defense at Troubled Reactors: 50 Japanese Workers
By Keith Bradsher and Hiroko Tabuchi
The New York Times
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A small crew of technicians, braving radiation and fire, became the only people remaining at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Tuesday — and perhaps Japan’s last chance of preventing a broader nuclear catastrophe.

They crawl through labyrinths of equipment in utter darkness pierced only by their flashlights, listening for periodic explosions as hydrogen gas escaping from crippled reactors ignites on contact with air.

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Japan Says 2nd Reactor May Have Ruptured With Radioactive Release
By Hiroko Tabuchi and Keith Bradsher
The New York Times
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOKYO — Japan’s nuclear crisis intensified again Wednesday, with Japanese authorities announcing that a containment vessel in a second reactor unit at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan may have ruptured and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam. That would be the second vessel to be compromised in two days.

The vessel had appeared to be the last fully intact line of defense against large-scale releases of radioactive materials from that reactor, but it was not clear how serious the possible breach might be.

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Experts Had Long Criticized Potential Weakness in Design of Stricken Reactor
By Tom Zeller, Jr.
The New York Times
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The warnings were stark and issued repeatedly as far back as 1972: If the cooling systems ever failed at a “Mark 1” nuclear reactor, the primary containment vessel surrounding the reactor would probably burst as the fuel rods inside overheated. Dangerous radiation would spew into the environment.

Now, with one Mark 1 containment vessel damaged at the embattled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and other vessels there under severe strain, the weaknesses of the design — developed in the 1960s by General Electric — could be contributing to the unfolding catastrophe.

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US free-speech law offers protection — at a price
By Eugenie Samuel Reich
Nature
Monday, March 14, 2011

Daniel Klessig has had two open-heart surgeries in the past eight years, and would gladly have two more rather than face another lawsuit like the one brought against him by Meena Chandok, his former postdoctoral researcher, in 2005 after Klessig alleged that she had falsified data.

"It is the worst thing that ever happened in my life," says Klessig, who studies plant immunology at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (BTI) in Ithaca, New York.

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Explosion rocks another Japanese nuclear reactor building
By CNN Wire Staff
CNN
Monday, March 14, 2011

Fresh white smoke rose again Monday from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, caused by an explosion at a building tied to the facility's No. 3 reactor.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that, according to the head of the nuclear facility, the container vessel surrounding the reactor is still intact. Initial reports suggest that radiation levels rose following the explosion late Monday morning, but Edano said he does not believe there has been a massive leak.

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Q&A: What has quake done to Japanese nuclear reactors?
By Dylan Reynolds
CNN
Sunday, March 13, 2011

What kind of nuclear reactor is involved?

The reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are boiling- water reactors. The reactor affected by the explosion is Fukushima Daiichi 1. It was connected to the grid in November 1970, making it about 40 years old. There are six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site, of which unit 1 is the oldest, according to the World Nuclear Association.

What happened to the nuclear reactors during the quake?

Three of the six reactors at the site were in operation when the earthquake hit. The reactors are designed to shut down automatically when a quake strikes, and emergency diesel generators began the task of pumping water around the reactors to cool them down. However, these stopped about an hour later. The failure of the back-up generators has been blamed on tsunami flooding by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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Energy revolution made in Greece
By Theodor Panagoulis
Investor's World (Greece)
Saturday, March 12, 2011

[Ed: New Energy Times thanks Nasos Daoultzis for his help in translating this article from Greek. By publishing this translation, our only intention is to help readers understand what was written in this news story. By no means does New Energy Times imply or confirm the veracity of any statements in the original article.

For similar news stories that appear to promote and/or solicit new energy investment opportunities, we recommend a review of the communications from the following former companies: Innovative Energy Solutions Inc., D2Fusion , Energetics Technologies LLC and Genesis World Energy. ]

The Greek company Defkalion Green Technologies SA managed to transform into an industrialized product a unique discovery of Italian scientists and starts the mass production from Greek city Xanthi of units named Hyperion. Hyperion units can be integrated in every house or professional facility and can produce thermal and electric energy in very low prices.

Not only the executives of Defkalion but also people who know deeper details of this discovery strongly believe that without any doubt this may be the breakthrough of a new ear in energy reality with strong effects globally. Greece may be a key player in the global energy market and the effects in Greek economy would be enormous.

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Beware the Fear of Nuclear...FEAR!
By David Ropeik, Guest Blogger
Scientific American
Saturday, March 12, 2011

It is frightening to watch what’s going on with Japan’s nuclear plant at Fukushima. It is also worrying to watch the fear racing around the world as a result of those events, fear that in some cases is far in excess of what’s going on, or even the worst case scenarios of what might happen.

The Japanese are facing the danger of a meltdown and release of dangerous amounts of radiation into the environment.

But the world is facing the risk of getting the risk of nuclear power wrong, and raising the overall risk to public and environmental health far more in the process.

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Cold Fusion Again?
By Hanno Essén
Research and Popular Education
Translated from Swedish by Karl-Henrik Malmqvist
March 6, 2011

As chairman of "The Sceptical Society" (VoF, "Science and education") with special interest in perpetual machines, free energy and cold fusion, also having published an idea that could possibly be interpreted as cold fusion, I was contacted by reporter Mats Lewan from Ny Teknik (New Technology).

He asked for my opinion on new reports from the University of Bologna, on what seemed to be cold fusion.

I took some time to study the material that was available and to my surprise found that it all seemed really interesting. No significant similarities with the Pons and Fleischmann flop of 1989 could be seen.

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Three Beaverton high school students share their fusion energy science project with President Obama
By Dominique Fong
Oregon Live
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

BEAVERTON – When Merlo Station High School senior Eric Thomas saw the movie “Iron Man,” he wondered whether the hero’s mini-reactor, a glowing gadget in the center of the armored suit, existed in real life.

Not yet, Thomas, 18, discovered – but possibly soon. In the movie, the mini-reactor supposedly uses clean energy to power Iron Man’s suit.

Currently, scientists around the world are working to perfect similar clean technology, called fusion energy.

Inspired by the film, Thomas worked with two other seniors, Forrest Betton and Demitri Hopkins, to build their own fusion energy device, a two-month project they were invited to show President Barack Obama during his Friday visit to Intel’s Hillsboro campus.

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Cold Fusion: It May Not Be Madness
By Mike Martin
Tech News World
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A handful of intrepid scientists are reigniting interest in work that was dismissed as junk science more than 20 years ago, claiming to have found a way to create more energy from less. The most recent excitement was generated by Italians Sergio Focardi and Andrea Rossi, who demonstrated a device that turned 400 watts of heat power into 12,400 watts. If their results are reproducible, the implications could be monumental.

Cold fusion -- the largely discredited science of making more energy from less -- may be making a comeback.

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Washington County Week in Review
By Kjerstin Gabrielson
Oregon Live
Saturday, February 19, 2011

It was an exciting week in Washington County, what with President Obama visiting Intel in Hillsboro. Still, there's more to life than presidential motorcades.

For example, the president's visit shifted plans for the Beaverton-Hillsboro Science Expo. Concerned about traffic snarls from President Obama's visit on Friday, Intel moved the Beaverton-Hillsboro Science Expo students from its Jones Farm campus in Hillsboro to the Capital Center, four miles away. Several students were invited to meet with the president, including three from Beaverton's School of Science and Technology who showed him their fusion project, and the president's description of the encounter was a highlight of his speech Friday.

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Obama Commends Student Scientists
FOX 12 Oregon
Friday, February 18, 2011

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- President Barack Obama got an all-access pass to Intel's operations today and met some very young, but aspiring scientists.

Obama seemed quite impressed with his tour of the Ronler Acres Campus, where he took a look at semiconductors and an electron microscope.

But it wasn't the employees at Intel that left a lasting impression on Obama.

“What most impressed me was the students and the science projects I had the chance to see,” he said.

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Microbes to treat e-waste!
By Kumar Chellappan
Deccan Chronicle [India]
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Radioactive waste management, an issue that has been giving sleepless nights to the country’s nuclear scientists, will soon become child’s play. An Ukraine scientist has come up with a solution for radioactive waste management, which could also unravel the mystery behind a host of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiac disorders, besides hugely reducing radiation risks in nuclear installations.

Prof Vladimir Vystoskii, head, theoretical radio physics department, Kiev National Shevchenko University, says it is possible to convert radioactive wastes generated in nuclear reactors into harmless elements by a process known as biological nuclear transmutations.

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Cold Fusion Predicted in 10 Years
By Kumar Chellappan
Deccan Chronicle [India]
Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chennai: Though reluctant to recognise the viability of the low energy nuclear reactor built by Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi, a top US scientist agreed that such a device could soon hit the market.

“The first commercial LENR device is imminent,” said David J. Nagel of George Washington University. “It will become a commercial reality within 10 years.”

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Administration to Push for Small ‘Modular’ Reactors
By Matthew L. Wald
The New York Times
Saturday, February 12, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s 2012 budget proposal will include a request for money to help develop small “modular” reactors that would be owned by a utility and would supply electricity to a government lab, people involved in the effort say.

The department is hoping for $500 million over five years, half of the estimated cost to complete two designs and secure the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval. The reactors would be built almost entirely in a factory and trucked to a site like modular homes.

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Cold Fusion Already in the 1920s?
By Kaianders Semple
Ny Teknik [New Technology, Sweden]
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Text generated by Google automated translation.

New Technology has recently written a lot about Italians Andrea Rossi, Sergio Focardi and their "energy catalyst", a variant of cold fusion. But the fact is that the Swedish chemist and physicist John Tandberg claimed that he had done cold fusion as early as the 1920s. But he was not first.

In 1926 experimented the Austrian physicists Friedrich Paneth and Kurt Peters by fusing hydrogen to helium sputtered palladium catalyst. The aim was to find a method to produce helium gas to the German airship. U.S. refused at this time that the export of helium to Germany, which meant that you had to use hydrogen in zeppelins, which over time could prove fatal.

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Call for inter-disciplinary studies in ‘cold fusion'
By Special Correspondent
The Hindu [India]
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scientists on Monday called for inter-disciplinary “cold fusion” studies involving nuclear physicists and chemical engineers to establish scientific validation for the discipline of condensed matter nuclear science.

Participants of the 16{+t}{+h} international conference on condensed matter nuclear science (ICCF 16) hosted by the International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, were of the view that though the principle of generating high energy reaction (through fusion) from low energy feeds was yet to gain widespread acceptance the relatively new branch would soon establish itself as a science with social applications, especially in energy security.

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Professors accused of misappropriating funds
By Joshua Sabik, Assistant Campus Editor
The [Purdue University] Exponent
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Purdue determined that two professors were misappropriating funds during the audit for fiscal year 2010.

The discovery was announced at the board of trustees meeting on Friday.

Chris Sigurdson, assistant vice president for external relations, was unable to discuss the matter in detail.

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Cold Fusion: Here's the Greek company building 1 MW
By Mats Lewan
Ny Teknik [New Technology, Sweden]
Monday, February 7, 2011

The Greek company that will build a heating plant of one megawatt with the Italian 'energy catalyzer' spoke about its activities and about the invention on Greek television this weekend.

The Greek company is called Defkalion Green Technologies. According to Andrea Rossi – the inventor of the 'energy catalyzer' possibly based on cold fusion – it is a newly formed consortium. Partners include companies involved in energy distribution.

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Step closer to low energy cold fusion plant
By C. Shivakumar
Express Buzz [India]
Monday, February 7, 2011

CHENNAI: Scientists globally are a step closer to resolving the energy crisis after Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi recently developed a cold fusion device that is capable of producing 10 KW of power, said noted nuclear scientist M Srinivasan.

Speaking at a tutorial school on the theme, ‘Introduction to the Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions’, he said the recent development involved a nickel-hydrogen fusion reactor that could produce a few kilowatts of thermal energy . Its significance was that it watered down the conventional theory of relying on high temperatures for nuclear reactions. Low energy nuclear reactions (LENR) or cold fusion refers to nuclear fusion of atoms at conditions close to room temperature, in contrast to that of well-understood fusion reactions such as high-energy experiments.

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Reactors at room temperature?
By Kumar Chellappan
Deccan Chronicle [India]
Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chennai: It may be still in the realm of science fiction for many but a nanotechnology expert has claimed that green, clean, safe and cheap energy can be produced using a low energy nuclear reactor in room temperature.

“One does not need materials like uranium, plutonium or thorium or for that matter any kind of reactors,” said Prof David Nagel, research professor, micro and nano technologies, George Washington University, USA. “There will not be any radiation or radioactive waste in this mode of power generation.”

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Purdue audit uncovers two cases of fraud
By Eric Weddle
The [Lafayette, Indiana] Journal & Courier
Saturday, February 5, 2011

Two faculty members at Purdue University are under investigation for suspected misappropriation of funds, according to results of recent campus audits.

The discovery was publicly acknowledged Friday during the Purdue Board of Trustees meeting on the West Lafayette campus.

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Two cases of faculty financial fraud uncovered at Purdue
By Eric Weddle
The [Lafayette, Indiana] Journal & Courier
Friday, February 4, 2011

Two faculty members at Purdue University have been found to have misappropriated funds, according to results of a recent campus audit.

The discovery was first publicly revealed today during the Purdue Board of Trustees meeting on the West Lafayette campus.

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"Our dream is a small fusion power generator in each house" (Q&A)
The Times of India
Friday, February 4, 2011

What is the role of Indian scientists in this research?

What is the current status of research in cold fusion in India and abroad?

What are the new findings on this issue in the past decade?

What is the agenda of the forthcoming conference in Chennai?

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Cold fusion: Observing researcher wants more tests
By Mats Lewan
Ny Teknik [New Technology, Sweden]
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Whatever the process was, it was not conventional fusion. And the researcher in physics who monitored the experiment with the Italian 'energy catalyzer' does not believe that the energy source is a chemical reaction, either.

“Given the produced power, I believe it is unlikely,” physics researcher Giuseppe Levi told Ny Teknik.

Levi is a researcher in physics at Bologna University, who monitored the experiment with Andrea Rossi’s heat-producing 'energy catalyzer' in Bologna on January 14, 2011.

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Cold fusion may provide one megawatt in Athens
By Mats Lewan
Ny Teknik [New Technology, Sweden]
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

“We will open up a heating plant of one megawatt in Athens, Greece this Fall,” Andrea Rossi told Ny Teknik. Rossi is the inventor of the ‘energy catalyzer’ demonstrated recently in Italy, that is based possibly on cold fusion.

“Here in the factory in Miami, we have one hundred reactors like the one we showed in Bologna, almost ready. The problems now have to do with authorization, but I expect that the heating plant in Athens will be inaugurated in September or October 2011,” Rossi told Ny Teknik, calling from Miami, FL.

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Bologna Cold Fusion Laboratory
Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy)
Saturday, January 15, 2011

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Fusione fredda: "Stiamo realizzando il sogno della scienza"
By Valerio Baroncini
il Resto del Carlino (Italy)
Saturday, January 15, 2011

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Fusione fredda, Sogno più vicino “L'Esperimento è andato bene”
il Resto del Carlino (Italy)
Saturday, January 15, 2011

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