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While the year 2011 will be remembered for the remarkable progress in cold fusion achieved in Italy and more particularly by the E-cat reactors of Andrea Rossi, the year 2012 will be remembered for the slow progress of its recognition by the mainstream establishments.
Cold fusion, known also as LENR, is a new and safer type of nuclear energy that will rival the currently used unsafe nuclear power. Its advantages are unparalleled: a lack of radioactive waste and byproducts that could be used for a weapon; abundance of fuel (nickel) without the need for mining of radioactive uranium with the accompanying environmental contamination; much cheaper and scalable reactors from small to large size with the possibility of also being used as an energy source for a spaceship. The latter option is envisioned by NASA.
The presently used nuclear plants based on the uranium fission process are highly expensive installations in the range of billions of dollars. Such a high cost is driven by the special design requirements for safety and maintenance including the management of the radioactive waste. The price of nuclear energy includes not only this cost spanned for the time of active operation of the nuclear plant but also the cost of uranium mining and processing.
Nuclear energy has been commercially adopted since 1951. For the past 60 years, the amount of radioactive waste produced by all nuclear reactors on the Earth is about 225,000 metric tons and it grows by 12,000 tons per year. Such concentrated radioactive waste has not existed naturally in the Earth since the time of its creation about 4.5 billions year ago. In many nuclear plants, the radioactive waste from burned fuel rods is temporarily stored in the plant for an undetermined duration, and people are not aware of it until some nuclear accident happens. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011 was such a case.
A question arises: Why is the new energy outside the view of energy policy makers? One of the problems is that we have an unprecedented case of a technological breakthrough that is considered impossible by main stream science. This may explain the initial denial and skepticism of the scientific establishment followed by silence in the official media. As a result, the energy policy makers continue their old way of planning and management of government funds. Apart from this, there is another no less important issue – a lot of money from interest groups is at stake.
In the era of the information superhighway we are living as in a global village, so the breakthrough in cold fusion cannot be left unnoticed. Sooner or later the new discovery will spread globally, bypassing the bureaucratic establishments. Some policy makers may expect this to happen, but they do not have the power to overcome the inertia. Nevertheless, following the voices of some scientists in favor of cold fusion, NASA hosted a LENR workshop in September 2011 at Glenn Research Center Cleveland, Ohio, where the feasibility of cold fusion and the pioneering work of Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons was acknowledged for the first time, 22 years after their experiments. After so many years of denial and embarrassment, Martin Fleischmann survived to see the triumph of cold fusion technology by the E-cat reactor of Andrea Rossi, and he died on August 3, 2012. Despite the fact that the feasibility of cold fusion was recognized for the first time in a NASA workshop, this was not enough to dissolve the skepticism amongst the institutions of mainstream science. However, some positive reactions took place. On September 16, 2011 US President Barack Obama signed a patent law reform bill that allows new technologies to be patented including cold fusion. It has been a known practice that a patent application could be refused if the physics is not explainable by the officially accepted theoretical models. The supporters of cold fusion may hope for challenging discussions at the next Annual meeting of the American Nuclear Society scheduled for June 2013 with a motto “Next Generation Nuclear Energy: Prospects and Challenge”.
One curiosity today is that while the research on cold fusion was deprived of government funding, billions of dollars have been spent and continue to flow for the expensive supercolliders in order to save the problematic Standard Model. The recent unconvincing result from the search for the elusive X boson is a further disappointment for the supporters of the Standard Model.
During the last two decades, international scientific organizations were established by scientists who do not agree with the imposed canonized models in theoretical physics. The information highway opened the possibility for a new form of international collaboration. Today, these scientists are able to organize online workshops with a large international participation and conferences, where new ideas can be discussed. The Natural Philosophy Alliance, established in 1988, counts thousands of members—scientists, engineers and researchers—worldwide. Another large professional scientific organization is the Society for Scientific Exploration, founded in 1989 with a peer reviewed periodic journal JSE. The 31st Annual Meeting of this society with the motto Bonfire on the Paradigm was held on June 20-23, 2012, in Boulder, CO, USA. At this meeting the author of this article presented a talk entitled: Theoretical Feasibility of Cold Fusion According to the Basic Structures of Matter – Supergravitation Unified Theory. The video-record of this talk is available on-line (part 1, part 2, part 3). The scientific paper is available from the physical archive http://vixra.org/abs/1112.0043.
Scientific discoveries today face a new paradigm that did not exist a century ago. The bureaucratic establishment of mainstream science is against any fundamental change, and global monetary interests hang in the balance. The search for a solution to the energy crisis today remind us of the famous phrase in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: To be, or not to be: that is the question. The answer to this question today with respect to cold fusion is not simple.