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Cold fusion: a glimpse into the future
by Connie Hargrave

A report on scientist Russ George's research into the implications and applications of cold fusion. 

"The fusion process is the method for the immediate future. It will use a form of nuclear energy derived from a single isotope of water. It is safe and superabundant in the waters of the oceans and rivers of the world. This nuclear fusion uses not heat but a cold process, and will be used relatively very soon ..." (Benjamin Creme in The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, 1979)

Russ George has followed his scientific curiosity down many strange paths. He has done environmental impact studies in Canada's North, and made television documentaries on the environment. But Russ George has outdone himself with his latest research venture which, surprisingly, has led him to head up a new company in Washington, DC. Clustron Sciences Corporation will be utilizing a discovery which Russ George says is "launching the birth of a new physics", and, according to some scientists, just slightly less important than the discovery of fire.

After the first announcement by Doctors Fleischmann and Pons in 1989 of successful attempts at cold fusion, Russ George began collecting all available information on the subject, including detailed reports on all experiments done around the world. Gathering this data was akin to detective work, because virtually nothing had been published on the topic. Scientists have generally ignored, or discredited, the discovery, because they could not explain all the facts involved in the cold fusion reaction, nor could they consistently replicate the experiments. The cold fusion phenomenon does not obey the rules of a chemical or nuclear reaction, and could not even be adequately explained by Doctors Fleischmann and Pons who first announced it. It has therefore remained a mystery.

Many pieces of the cold fusion puzzle have come together as a result of information-sharing. Japanese scientists established an experimental process which could be replicated, and George's colleague was able to convince them to share the results of their experiments. In seeking out cold fusion experts in the US with whom to share this information, Russ George was led to Ronald Brightsen, formerly a senior executive with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. For the last 30 years Brightsen has worked on developing a new model of the atom that, he believes, explains nuclear fission more completely than does the traditional model. Upon examining George's information, Brightsen recognized that his new model of the atomic nucleus might also explain cold fusion.

Cold fusion is a phenomenon that occurs when ordinary hydrogen and an isotope of hydrogen called deuterium – both of which are abundant in ordinary water – are brought together with metals such as palladium, titanium and lithium. Cold fusion releases enormous quantities of energy – hundreds to thousands of times more than ordinary chemical reactions could possibly yield, and significantly more than nuclear fission. Cold fusion, in contrast to hot fusion, occurs in a relatively simple apparatus roughly the size of a postage stamp, and does not emit neutron radiation. It also gives off very little, if any, of the radiation common to fusion and fission.

One of the reasons that cold fusion experiments have been so difficult to understand is that the particles emitted are 1,000 times more energetic than expected, and unlike those emitted from conventional fusion. As one scientist put it: "Conducting experiments to detect particles (emitted from the cold fusion reaction) with the current equipment is like trying to hear a flashlight on your radio."

Cold fusion is a staggering scientific discovery, George claims, in that the energy it produces is clearly the hallmark of a process of a previously unknown character. The social and economic implications are astounding. For instance, there is more potential nuclear energy in a cubic mile of sea water than in all of the oil, gas, and coal reserves on Earth. Understanding how to release this energy will be a revolutionary advance that makes possible dramatic decreases in power consumption by a broad array of common devices.

The new model of the atomic nucleus, called the Nucleon Cluster Model (NCM), will revolutionize a wide range of energy and materials technologies, its proponents believe. It may also explain a number of unsolved mysteries of physics and unlock a wealth of unexpected explanations for many physical phenomena in addition to cold fusion and fission. For instance, the energy from the stars (such as our sun) was previously believed to be a product of nuclear fusion. But there were basic flaws in this explanation, among them the fact that no one could detect neutrinos emanating from the sun, although neutrinos are present in all nuclear fusion reactions. The cold fusion reaction more closely approximates the energy emitted by the sun and stars. The amount of radiation produced by the reaction is very small but of extremely high energy. One of the implications of the cold nuclear fusion reaction is that the nucleus of the atom can be affected with much smaller amounts of energy than previously thought, and that the nuclear forces are weaker than posited in the original model of the atom.

"The implications are astounding," says Russ George. Given that matter and energy are convertible, this new model will enhance our understanding of energy, and of how energy and matter are related. In fact, positing the Nucleon Cluster Model could eventually be as important as Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev's 1869 development of the Periodic Table of the Elements. "No one has tried to come near this kind of energy before," George says, "and founding this new company is like going on a shopping spree at a sale before all the other shoppers get there."

On a sobering note, he assured me that "the proof will be in the pudding" – the development of practical applications for this new energy source. The situation is like having discovered electricity but still needing to invent the light bulb. George's newly-formed company intends to introduce innovative commercial applications, for example technologies aimed at converting radioactive waste to a non-radioactive state, and to design a wide range of heaters based on the development of new superconductor and semiconductor formulas. "This new reaction still needs a popular name," Russ George mentioned, and I volunteered to think about it and to pass the challenge on to Share International readers.

Russ George is certain that this energy source will not be monopolized by the few as is the world's oil today. "Probably the most difficult hurdle is that cold fusion seems too fantastic scientifically and too good to be true economically and socially," he muses, "but cold fusion will likely revolutionize the world in ways we can barely begin to imagine."

When one thinks of the people who still do not have access to electricity and who so painstakingly gather scarce firewood for their heat, one hopes that this indeed is a new source of energy that humanity will share equitably. One also hopes that the scientist Michael Faraday – to whom we owe our electrically-powered civilization – was right when he said, "Nothing is too wonderful."

From the November 1992  issue of Share International

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005