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NASA Power Technology

NASA's Basement Nuclear Reactor 368

Posted by samzenpus
from the mr.-fusion dept.
cylonlover writes "If Joseph Zawodny, a senior scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center, is correct, the future of energy may lie in a nuclear reactor small enough and safe enough to be installed where the home water heater once sat. Using weak nuclear forces that turn nickel and hydrogen into a new source of atomic energy, the process offers a light, portable means of producing tremendous amounts of energy for the amount of fuel used. It could conceivably power homes, revolutionize transportation and even clean the environment."
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NASA's Basement Nuclear Reactor

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  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:09AM (#42976975)

    "But what about the terrorists?"

    Government: Approval Denied.

    • by Shimbo (100005)

      "But what about the terrorists?"

      I'm sure the CIA would love them to be developing bombs that have no net energy release. It makes givng them cupcake recipes [huffingtonpost.com] look positively hazardous.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        Believe it or not, the CIA has quite an active cupcake special interest group. They're not all trying to find ways to make their microwave mind control ways penetrate your tinfoil helmet. Well, not all the time anyways. Some members of the cupcake SIG might be working on that too.
      • by myowntrueself (607117) on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:11AM (#42978917)

        "But what about the terrorists?"

        I'm sure the CIA would love them to be developing bombs that have no net energy release. It makes givng them cupcake recipes [huffingtonpost.com] look positively hazardous.

        In the UK its illegal for anyone to possess information that might be useful in commiting an act of terror. So that pretty much bans all knowledge

        • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:25PM (#42980601) Homepage

          In the UK its illegal for anyone to possess information that might be useful in commiting an act of terror. So that pretty much bans all knowledge

          But it does explain a lot about Comprehensive Education.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          In the UK its illegal for anyone to possess information that might be useful in commiting an act of terror. So that pretty much bans all knowledge

          Indeed ... armed with only Newton's laws of motions, I could come up with all sorts of dastardly things.

          And don't even get me started on gravity. ;-)

    • Re:One small problem (Score:5, Informative)

      by riverat1 (1048260) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:25AM (#42977069)

      If you RTFA you find it is not expected to produce objectionable byproducts like regular reactors. It says that unlike fission and fusion reactions that depend on the strong nuclear force for their energy this is drawing energy from the weak nuclear force. Like fusion though it appears to be mostly in the experimental stage and is years away from practical application. One difficulty they have is they need to generate vibrations in the 5-30 THz range which the researcher calls "the valley of inaccessibility".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Knuckles (8964)

        I guess its practical application is 30 years away.

      • by gr8_phk (621180) on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:38AM (#42979171)
        From TFA:

        The electrons in the metal lattice are made to oscillate so that the energy applied to the electrons is concentrated into only a few of them. When they become energetic enough, the electrons are forced into the hydrogen protons to form slow neutrons. These are immediately drawn into the nickel atoms, making them unstable. This sets off a reaction in which one of the neutrons in the nickel atom splits into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino. This changes the nickel into copper, and releases energy without dangerous ionizing radiation.

        So the mechanism to get the reaction to happen is thought to involve the weak force, the end result is Ni + H -> Cu which is just plain fusion. You can compute the energy output based on the mass difference of the inputs and outputs. The problem is that people are finally reproducing the old Cold Fusion work and getting a better understanding, but they face the problems caused 20 years ago. Problems like the DOE deciding it was all a crock and putting policy in place not to fund any research in that area. Problems like the physics community lashing out saying "it can't be fusion, it must be a chemical reaction" (saying that to chemists working with 4 elements in a jar). Now it has to go by the name LENR, but places like NASA and MIT and (allegedly) some folks in industry are working on this.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          but places like NASA and MIT and (allegedly) some folks in industry are working on this.

          Or more like: people at places like NASA and MIT. There have been a few proponents that worked at those places that worked on LENR in their off-time, that later in either PR or otherwise gets reported as NASA and MIT officially working on such research. Even in one case, one NASA research quite explicitly states several times in his blog that he is doing that as a side project completely unrelated to his job at NASA, but people continue to insist that his research is a sign of official support from the NA

        • There is another pretty severe mistake in there as well. From the article:

          This sets off a reaction in which one of the neutrons in the nickel atom splits into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino. This changes the nickel into copper, and releases energy without dangerous ionizing radiation.

          A proton and an electron moving with nuclear decay energies are precisely what "dangerous ionizing radiation" is. The used fuel from nuclear reactors is dangerous because it is rich in beta emitters which produce high energy electrons. High energy protons are even more dangerous because, for the same energy, they will move more slowly and so be more heavily ionizing.

          The article is also extremely vague about how the electric field

    • Re:One small problem (Score:5, Informative)

      by hrvatska (790627) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:35AM (#42978221)
      I thought the one small problem was the one cited in the article.

      LENR is a very long way from the day when you can go out and buy a home nuclear reactor. In fact, it still has to be proven that the phenomenon even exists

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Moabz (1480009)
        I think the author of the story hasn't completely understood. The phenomenon exists, that's quite clear.

        Robert Duncan, Vice Chancellor for Research University of Missouri: "There have been great advances in this discipline over the last five years by research labs and private institutions around the world, and this work will be explored at ICCF-18. The Naval Research Lab (NRL), and many other excellent laboratories have confirmed that the excess heat effects reported by Fleischmann and Pons are real, and
  • While I think technically this is possible, IMO it will never happen. Imagine the following tagline:

    "Have enough electricity for 20 years"

    Do you really think any power plant company will want this? Of course maybe somebody will sell for 20 years, and 35K, thus making it not that useful. The only reason why we are not using our own generators right now is because they are too tedious and twiddly factor. If you could produce reliable energy without the twiddle factor we would not be in this mess we are.

    • by c0lo (1497653) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:49AM (#42977427)

      The only reason why we are not using our own generators right now is because they are too tedious and twiddly factor. If you could produce reliable energy without the twiddle factor we would not be in this mess we are.

      Ummm... I recently installed PVes on my roof. Tedious? I don't think so. Expensive? It was 1.5 month worth of my wage. Warranty for 25 years, I guess they'll last at least 12 without degrading in performance too much. Reliable? Well, as reliable as the Sun is... would I be able to invest in an 15K buffer system, I'm sure I could live "off power grid" even in winter time (summer time, I'm pushing on the grid twice as much as I'm consuming).

      What point I'm trying to make? I'm less dependent know on the power producers than I was 1 year ago and I didn't need to sell my first born for it.

    • by Solandri (704621) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:57AM (#42977459)

      IMO it will never happen. Imagine the following tagline:

      "Have enough electricity for 20 years"

      Do you really think any power plant company will want this?

      About 20 years ago a friend and I were discussing hard disks. My first PC had a 300 MB hard drive, and he had just gotten one with a 1 GB drive. I noted how capacity was growing, and some day we would have 1 TB drives. He said no, the hard drive manufacturers would never allow it. According to him, 1 TB was so much storage you could buy one and never have to buy another drive for the rest of your life. No way the hard drive manufacturers would ever sell something which put themselves out of business.

      Well, we all know how that turned out. If you build it, people will find a use for it. For energy, off the top of my head I can think of a few tremendously high-power applications which will probably become feasible with the advent of cheap power. You can desalinate all the drinking and irrigation water the entire planet needs. You can atomize toxic compounds like dioxins, decomposing them into their constituent elements. You can convert CO2 back into O2 gas and carbon (soot), reversing a century of greenhouse gas emissions. You can power railguns to launch large quantities of fuel and other supplies into orbit to construct spacecraft for manned interplanetary missions (currently the energy cost is $5k-$10k per kg put into low earth orbit).

      So the power companies may not be making as much money selling household power. But they'll certainly be making money selling power for other uses. Probably a lot more money than they're making now.

      • 1 TB was so much storage you could buy one and never have to buy another drive for the rest of your life

        So hard drives were presumably a bit more reliable back then? I've heard people saying that they have older drives that have kept going, but modern ones fail a lot faster. So maybe he was right?

      • Electric Utilites were quite happy to make their regulated profits selling more, ever cheaper power. It was really only a combination of the oil crises of the 70's, de-nuclearisation and government incentives to cut energy use that turned that tide. People today like to make fun of the old idea of electricity "too cheap to meter" but remember, your local phone bill is that way (wasn't in the past), and your internet access and water used to be that way too, until certain forces reversed the tide of history
      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Your friend was also correct: how many of those drive manufacturers are out of business now?

      • You can power railguns to launch large quantities of fuel and other supplies into orbit to construct spacecraft for manned interplanetary missions (currently the energy cost is $5k-$10k per kg put into low earth orbit).

        Energy costs aren't the hurdle there. [maglaunch.com]

        • by deimtee (762122)
          No, the energy cost is about $10 per kilogram. The $10,000/kg is for the infrastructure to get it there.
    • by Nyh (55741)

      If the US companies are stalling this development I bet soon enough some Japanese or Chinese companies think is is a great idea and start selling it all over the world. Just like electric cars, pv solar cells. US companies may even try to block import of those great power supplies and make the US into some backward country where they are still burning fossil fuels for energy while the rest of the world moves on.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kilo Kilo (2837521)
      I agree that this will never happen, but for very different reasons. It's the NIMBY's that will be the death of this, because NUCLEAR SCARY. I used to live near Indian Point [wikipedia.org], widely argued to be the most dangerous nuclear power plant in the U.S. I actually had a chance to tour the plant (if you have a chance to do this, jump at it, I'm sure most slashdotters would enjoy it) and see how it operates and all the safeguards. I'm also an engineer and I have a brain, so I understand the population density is
    • Yes, the power company would never want some of their customers to actually be producing electricity and putting it on the Grid where the electric company gets to set the price they pay for it. They would much rather be slaves to the price of coal and fluctuating demands of its customers.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      Did you know that you can build a trans-dimensional teleportation device out of nothing but aluminum? Large corporations of preventing you from knowing of this remarkable technology.

      See, if you form a bowl-shaped structure from a thin sheet of aluminum and place it on your head then you will be instantly transported into a universe where corporations are organized enough to cooperate to prevent you from having free energy.
  • by Moabz (1480009) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:17AM (#42977033)
    There have been quite a few news reports about LENR lately. There seems to be a revival in legitimate scientific research into this area. University of Missouri is running a 5.5 million USD research project, and scientists at other institutes like Purdue, Illinois-UIUC, NASA, MIT, SRI, NRL are all looking into it.

    A couple of days ago the Nuclear Energy Institute was talking about it on their facebook page and the American Nuclear Society posted a similar story on their "nuclear cafe".

    The University of Missouri will host a cold fusion conference in July this year and George Miley from Illinois (UIUC) will discuss his research results in a talk at the upcoming "Nuclear & Emerging Technologies for Space (NETS-2013) organized by the ANS starting coming Monday. (http://iccf18.research.missouri.edu/)

    On a ANS meeting in November 2012 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries reported about their transmutation experiment and successful replications of the experiment at Toyota lab.
    • by Moabz (1480009) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:39AM (#42977371)
      There was a colloquium at CERN last year, see http://indico.cern.ch/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=177379 [indico.cern.ch]

      you will find the presentation about the Widom-Larsen-Srivastava that TFA talks about.

      you will also find the slides about the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries transmutation experiment (and the Toyota replication of it) http://indico.cern.ch/getFile.py/access?resId=5&materialId=slides&confId=177379 [indico.cern.ch]

      As mentioned above it was also presented at the American Nuclear Society's winter meeting in Nov 2012:

      "Replication experiments have been performed in some universities or institutes mainly in Japan. T.Higashiyama et al. of Osaka University observed transmutation of Cs into Pr in 2003[7]. H.Yamada et al. performed similar experiments using Cs and detected increase of mass number 137 by TOF-SIMS. They used a couple of nano-structured Pd multilayer thin film and observed the increase of mass number 141 (corresponding to Pr) only when 133Cs was given on the Pd sample [8]. N. Takhashi et al., the researchers of Toyota Central R&D Labs, presented that they detected Pr from the permeated Pd sample using SOR x-ray at Spring-8 and the detected Pr was confirmed by ICP-MS and TOF-SIMS [8]." http://newenergytimes.com/v2/conferences/2012/ANS2012W/2012Iwamura-ANS-LENR-Paper.pdf [newenergytimes.com]
    • by jmulvey (233344)

      Ha. The LENR research at University of Missouri is being performed by the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Rennaisance (SKINR). That makes it LENR-SKINR... like the band

  • Cold fusion again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by a_hanso (1891616) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:51AM (#42977159) Journal

    "...is called Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions or Lattice Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). In the late 1980s, it went by the name of “cold fusion.”

    This claims you can harness the power of the weak nuclear force while turning nickel to copper without releasing ionizing radiation.

    And: "In past years, several labs have blown up while studying LENR and windows have melted".

    Seriously?

    • by a_hanso (1891616)

      But wait, there's more:

      "Zawodny says that the most logical first application of LENR is the home reactor..."

      Are we talking about the same type of logic?

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:11AM (#42977231)
      This appears to be the same technology Andrea Rossi claimed to have developed, and is trying to sell. Except he isn't using any kind of radiation. He claims to have some kind of "secret ingredient" he adds to the nickel and hydrogen.

      But both the Navy and NASA have been saying the basic idea might be workable. Is this Rossi guy just borrowing the buzzwords to put together a scam? Or are these other folks actually making him more believable?
      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It's a reaction and a purported mechanism that have been floating around in cold fusion circles for quite a while. It shouldn't be surprising that scam artists, deluded tinkerers, or serious researchers have all considered it.

    • by oobayly (1056050)

      I would guess that's due to the hydrogen being used. I'd love to see this work and happen as the article describes, but I'm getting a little fatigued by all these "free energy around the corner" publications. Yes, I know, it's not actually free energy.

      Unfortunately this sounds a bit like the e-cat, which again would be great if it worked, but Andrea Rossi's demonstrations leave a lot to be desired.

  • by Issarlk (1429361) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:52AM (#42977163)
    Maybe NASA will let other scientists play with it to prove it's not a scam, unlike Rosi's device. We don't even hear about that one anymore, where's the mass produced fusion generator for every home ?
    • I don't know details, but it seems he's still moving forward with it.

      I guess he got an Italian patent on it. Does that mean anything? I wouldn't think that proves a lot.
  • Science win (Score:3, Funny)

    by KraxxxZ01 (2445360) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:53AM (#42977167)
    " In past years, several labs have blown up while studying LENR and windows have melted – showing that if it really works, it can produce an impressive amount of energy." I wanna play too.
  • by CoolGopher (142933) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:27AM (#42977317)

    "Brought to you by the knights who say NiH!"

  • by balsy2001 (941953) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:47AM (#42977419)
    All kinds of information nuclear reactions and decay is available in "Nuclides and Isotopes", a chart of the nuclides published by KAPL (Knowles Atomic Power Laboratory). I recommend the "chart" in book form as it comes with a bunch of nuclear physics discussion. Based on the description in the article Ni+n=Cu+e. There is only one stable isotope of Ni that has a chance of going through this process and resulting in a stable isotope of copper and that is Ni62. Ni62 is only 3.63% of naturally occurring nickle. The most abundant isotope is Ni58 (68.07%) and it will go to Ni59 with addition of a neutron and will beta decay to Co59. Ni59 has a 7600 year half life so you could continue to change it to Ni60 then Ni61 then Ni62, but all of this wouldn't happen instantaneously as stated in the article (I guess you could start an enrichment plant so you are only using Ni62, but that cost a lot of money and energy and would have to be factored into the energy balance of the final "reactor"). These types of reactions don't take place in nature because the stable isotopes are already at the bottom of the "valley of stability" (have a minimum mass or maximum binding energy, see pages 27-28 of the 16th edition of the "Nuclides and Isotopes"). I guess it is possible that the 30THz vibrations change the local laws of physics, but I will remain skeptical until there is more than speculation. The article states, "LENR is a very long way from the day when you can go out and buy a home nuclear reactor. In fact, it still has to be proven that the phenomenon even exists, but hundreds of experiments worldwide indicate that heat and transmutations with minimal radiation and low energy input do take place with yields of 10 to 100 watts." TFA states that they are not even sure if the phenomenon exists and it doesn't provide the total energy input to the system so you can't tell if 10-100W is noise or error in the measuring equipment (this is one of the things that was going on in the cold fusion of years past).
    • by Stoutlimb (143245) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:16AM (#42977519)

      Well, it looks like Dr. Joe Zawodny himself agrees with you that the extraordinary evidence to prove this even works has yet to be demonstrated:

      http://joe.zawodny.com/ [zawodny.com] That's his private blog, and an interesting read. Looks like he's into model rocketry too.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        What a wonderful counterpoint to the article. If I had mod points I would give them to you.

    • by seanellis (302682) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:25AM (#42977561) Homepage Journal

      Nickel-64, at a natural abundance of about 1%, would be a better candidate, as neutron capture would result in Nickel-65 which decays to stable Copper-65 with a very short half-life of 2 hours. This is a "clean" beta-emitter with an energy of about 2.1MeV.

      The overall reaction seems to be p + Ni-64 -> Cu-65 + ve + anti-ve + 2.1MeV. This is at least physically plausible as a reaction. The electron (removed from both sides above) acts as a sort of catalyst, a way to get the proton through the coloumb barrier by transforming it into a neutron.

      Getting the neutrons to collide with Ni-64 nuclei rather than escaping implies a lot of Ni-64, and any escaping neutrons would irradiate everything else nearby, or impurities in the nickel such as the aforementioned Ni-62, or worse Ni-58 which would produce Ni-59, a positron emitter with a half-life of 76000 years.

      But to me, the real red flag on this is getting the hydrogen atoms to collapse into neutrons, a process which I've never heard of before. Even if it's possible, can you get a net gain? Does it take more than 2.1MeV? Slashdot - educate me!

      • by balsy2001 (941953)
        I missed Ni64, thanks. But it isn't obvious that it is a better choice that Ni62. Ni62 has a larger neutron cross section and higher abundance than Ni64. But who knows if cross section means anything in this scenario, especially after you hit this stuff with 30THz.
      • by HalfFlat (121672)

        Beryllium-7 decays naturally (to Lithium) by electron capture, but obviously Hydrogen doesn't, without some sort of push.

        According to one of the presentations [indico.cern.ch] at the LENR symposium [indico.cern.ch] at CERN last year, the required energy deficit is on the order of 1.28 MeV, which in principle can be supplied by surface plasmons. The author states that observed neutron generation in lightning discharges and piezoelectric rock fracturing can be explained by this process.

  • Looks like a rebranded version of cold fusion, from the same frothing, foaming-at-the-mouth fraudsters, weirdos and cranks.

    Slashdot editors and commentors are so credulous.

  • by Stoutlimb (143245) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:53AM (#42977447)

    After reading the article, it appears that the magic formula is subjecting a nickel metal hydride to T-waves. Perhaps all the existing NiMH batteries out on the market can be somehow re-purposed to last forever if someone can invent a portable terahertz wave generator.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Batteries generate current, this reaction generates heat, so you couldn't use them directly. Although it would certainly be convenient to just charge up a bunch of old NiMH cells, then use them as "fuel rods".

      (If this were true. I'm sceptical.)

  • The electrons in the metal lattice are made to oscillate so that the energy applied to the electrons is concentrated into only a few of them. When they become energetic enough, the electrons are forced into the hydrogen protons to form slow neutrons. These are immediately drawn into the nickel atoms, making them unstable. This sets off a reaction in which one of the neutrons in the nickel atom splits into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino. This changes the nickel into copper, and releases energy wit

  • For once a scientist has possibly developed a system where were not boiling water. In reality we have never left the steam age as even our most technologically advanced fusion reactors are nothing but steam generators in the end. Here we have something that can finally produce direct electricity in usable currents (Yes there are beta batteries but they're radioactive).

    Airlines the the most doomed industry unless this is brought into commercial production, because eventually fuel will become too expensive

    • Here we have something that can finally produce direct electricity in usable currents

      This cold fusion device has not been shown to produce any electricity.

  • by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:22AM (#42977543) Journal

    For the purpose of this post, I'll accept that they can convert protons to neutrons as described, although I'm very dubious about this.

    Here [wikipedia.org] is a table of nickel isotopes.
    Here [llnl.gov] is the first source I found for neutron cross sections of nickel isotopes (pdf). (See figure 12, look at the left hand side of each 'destruction channels for ??Ni' plot for what low energy (thermal) neutrons will do.)

    Cross sections are in barns, and are approximate as I'm eyeballing them off a logarithmic scale.
    58Ni [stable, 68% abundant] (0.006 barn) -> 59Ni [-> 59Co, 76000 yr half life]
    59Ni [unstable but long lived] (0.02b) -> 59Co [stable] or (0.005b) ->56 Fe [stable] or (0.004b) -> 60Ni [stable]
    60Ni [stable, 26%] (0.006b) -> 61Ni [stable]
    61Ni [stable, 1%] (0.002b) -> 62Ni [stable]
    62Ni [stable, 4%] (0.006b) -> 63Ni [->63Cu, 100yr]
    63Ni [unstable] (0.001b)-> 64Ni [stable]
    64Ni [stable, 1%] (0.004b) -> 65Ni [->65Cu, 2.5 hr]

    None of the cross sections are hugely larger than the others, so all these reactions will occur with reasonable frequency. So irradiating nickel with thermal neutrons, you are going to produce radioactive 59Co (76000yr), 63Ni (100yr) and 65Ni (2.5hr). The 65Ni isn't a problem - turn off the reactor, wait a couple of days, and it will all be gone. The 59Co is only a bit of a problem - with such a long half life, it isn't very radioactive. The 63Ni however is nasty. Like 137Cs (30yr) from the Fukashima reactors, the half life is short enough to be quite radioactive but long enough that you can't just wait it out. Finally, the nickel won't be 100% pure, so you have to worry about what neutron irradiation will do to the impurities.

    The 65Ni means when you turn off your reactor, it will continue to produce residual heat for hours.

    The article gives the impression that weak nuclear reactions aren't dangerous, but this is not so. If it were, nuclear reactor waste wouldn't be dangerous.

    This reactor will be producing ionizing radiation when running (mostly gamma rays, some beta rays mostly from 65Ni decay, and a tiny amount of alpha particles from 59Co(n,a)56Fe.) This will require some pretty heavy shielding to stop it. (A good sized water bath should work, every 7cm of water [xkcd.com] halves the radiation and you want hot water anyhow. But concrete is less prone to leak away.) You'd also need to worry about stray neutrons, although I expect that can be fixed with a thin layer of something that has very high thermal neutron cross section and no dangerous daughter products.

    In short, I don't think I want this in my basement.

    • Oops, spotted an error. In the paragraph "None of the cross sections are hugely larger than the others..." read 59Ni for 59Co.

    • by HalfFlat (121672)
      63Ni might have an annoyingly long half-life, but it is a pure beta emitter at a relatively low energy (max 67 keV). I wouldn't lick it, but it is a much more manageable risk than 137Cs, which produces a lot of nasty gamma.
    • On my reading of the article the only reaction that makes sense is 64Ni -> 65Cu.

      Either the neutron capture reaction they are looking for specifically targets that species of Ni (which would be as amazing as H -> n in the present of these same T waves) or they're starting with 64Ni (or at least depleted 62Ni Nickel)

      The other thing I wonder is whether this is not a thermal reactor - The beta decay of 65Ni could be directly generating an electric current (which would mean that although the reaction would

  • A nice link explaining the science which intrigued NASA: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Widom-Larsen.php [i-sis.org.uk]
    • Linking to a pseudo-scientific institute which supports homoeopathy and other nonsense is a good way to kill credibility.
  • Just try... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mbstone (457308) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:31AM (#42977593)

    ...getting the landlord to fix the nuclear reactor.

    It's hard enough to get him to fix the water heater.

  • Quote Zawodny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IRWolfie- (1148617) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:47AM (#42977679)

    The first line of the article "If Joseph Zawodny, a senior scientist at NASAâ(TM)s Langley Research Center, is correct" is misleading. Zawodny hasn't stated that it works or that he thinks it's definitely a real effect.

    Let's look at what Zawodny actually has stated before:

    Many extraordinary claims have been made in 2010. In my scientific opinion, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I find a distinct absence of the latter. So let me be very clear here. While I personally find sufficient demonstration that LENR effects warrant further investigation, I remain skeptical. Furthermore, I am unaware of any clear and convincing demonstrations of any viable commercial device producing useful amounts of net energy.

    http://joe.zawodny.com/index.php/2012/01/14/technology-gateway-video/ [zawodny.com]

    That he still holds this opinion is consistent with the quotes in the gizmag article:

    I'm interested in understanding whether the phenomenon is real, what it's all about. ... All we really need is that one bit of irrefutable, reproducible proof that we have a system that works.

  • Don't believe a word (Score:2, Interesting)

    by physburn (1095481)
    This device is never going to work, converting protons in neutrons in the metal isn't going to happen, the process requires nearly a MeV of energy that isn't there, (and Terahertz waves are no were near a MeV). This is a cold fusion under different name, cold fusion didn't work, and neither does this. Shame on NASA for supporting research so obviously wrong, and previously debunked.
    • Completely agree!
      the article says that "he electrons in the metal lattice are made to oscillate so that the energy applied to the electrons is concentrated into only a few of them" How??? How does the energy get concentrated at the required MeV level - that energy is WAY above anything involving lattice interactions. If you did have MeV electrons in the lattice they would scatter and create showers and loose that energy very quickly.

      The fundamental problem with all cold fusion type schemes is that nuclear

  • by paiute (550198) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:19AM (#42978145)
    "In fact, it still has to be proven that the phenomenon even exists...." When you see this in an otherwise-gushing piece, the bells should go off.
  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:24AM (#42978177)
    Cold Fusion sounds like snake oil but low energy fusion potentially could be real. People can debate energy and gamma releases all they want but for me if they are finding copper where there wasn't copper before the only way for that to happen is some form of fusion. The beauty of the system is if it works you just have to shield from the gamma release while the reactor is operating. Shutting off the reactor stops the release of gamma radiation. The bi-product when you reprocess the core is copper, a useful element. The problem seems to be creating stable reproducable conditions for a process that's poorly understood. Ironically they may be closer to LENR as an energy source even though hot fusion is far better understood. This could be one of those eureka moments when science changes through a single discovery. People forget such things were commonplace in the 1800s up through the early 1900s. Now the eureka discoveries have to come from more obscure things like LENR since most obvious discoveries have been made.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

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