Nov. 30, 2012 – By Steven B. Krivit –
For the first time in a decade, the American Nuclear Society hosted a low-energy nuclear reaction session.
It took place at the ANS Winter meeting on Nov. 14 from 8:30 to noon at the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego, Calif.
I organized the session at the request of Roger Tilbrook, a past executive director of the ANS. Two experimentalists spoke with me there, Yasuhiro Iwamura and Domenico Cirillo, who have both observed clear nuclear evidence, including transmutations, isotopic abundances and neutron-burst evidence.
A theorist — Lewis G. Larsen — from the only group that has a potential winning LENR theory also spoke. We each presented a talk and fielded questions in an open discussion. Larsen was unable to travel there, but he presented over the phone.
In addition to Tilbrook, the audience included representatives from the Canadian government, Nuclear News, Rolls Royce Corp. (which manufactures nuclear submarines), Aerospace Corp., Westinghouse Corp., other energy companies and a few students.
The audience took the subject seriously and asked thoughtful questions. The reporter from Nuclear News asked about exact replications. I explained that exact replications are not common in the field because researchers usually apply their own ideas to the experiments. Later, I remembered that minor variances in experimental protocol increase, rather than decrease, replication confidence, according to Harry M. Collins, an expert on the topic of scientific replication. The reason, according to Collins, is that part of the expectation of the scientific method is that a valid effect should be obtainable through a variety of methods.
One person in the audience asked about a commercial LENR device that he had heard about. I explained that there was no device yet. People have claimed to have commercial LENR devices or devices that have been nearly ready for two decades.
New Energy Times maintains a list of commercial LENR companies on this Web page. Some of the companies are legitimate; others are not. Some have disappeared; others remain. The main problem with commercializing LENRs is that the science is poorly understood. No technology can be developed until the science is understood.
LENR devices likely will be small and relatively inexpensive. These characteristics often lead people to expect that companies can produce commercial devices now. However, even after the science is clearly understood, practical devices likely will require complex high technology to manufacture. Eventually, real commercial LENR devices will hit the market. Meanwhile, potential investors and fans should check facts carefully. New Energy Times has investigated several questionable science and technology claims in the field.
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