JAPANESE COLD FUSION PROGRAM TO END
Official Japanese New Hydrogen Energy (Cold Fusion) Program to End--
Commercial Development and Research Continues in the US, Japan, and Elsewhere
Concord, NH: Infinite Energy Magazine has learned that the official Japanese cold fusion program (the New Hydrogen Energy Program), sponsored by Japan's MITI since 1993 will not receive continued funding beyond the spring of 1998. The New York Times, the Nikkei and Reuters have also reported this week that MITI intends to close down the New Hydrogen Energy cold fusion research program.
Infinite Energy reported on the astonishing weaknesses of the NHE program in Vol. 2, No. 10, published after the Sixth International Conference on Cold fusion (ICCF6), which was held in October 1996 in Hokkaido, Japan. Contributing Editor Jed Rothwell pointed out several major technical problems with the research in his ICCF6 review and in An Open Letter to Japan's NHE Lab Directorate, written in Japanese and English, on page 28 of Issue #10=2E The letter includes 17 references to the literature, and it lists concrete problems with the protocols and materials used at the NHE lab, including low cell temperatures, improper cell and cathode materials, inadequate preparation and pre-testing of cathodes, and so on. These technical criticisms did not originate with Infinite Energy. They were suggested by Drs. Stanley Pons, Martin Fleischmann, John Bockris, Edmund Storms, T. Mizuno, Hideo Ikegami and the others cited in the footnotes. We pointed out that the French Atomic Energy Commission has successfully replicated the Pons-Fleischmann IMRA boil-off experiments (originally reported in Physics Letters A, 176 (1993) 118-129), because they were more careful about replicating every detail of the experiment, without making any changes.
The NHE is staffed mostly by scientists and engineers new to the cold fusion field. They are on 6 to 12 month assignments to the NHE lab. We urged the NHE researchers to pay more attention to the literature; to hire some electrochemists for the research; and to try the techniques suggested by these leading workers, but as far as we know they have not done so. We did not receive any official response to the Open Letter, nor did we expect any. Unofficially, NHE researchers denied that there is anything wrong with their techniques, and they refused to address any of the technical points in the Open Letter. They accused us of plotting to bring down the lab in league with arch-enemies of cold fusion such as John Huizenga and Frank Close.
A MITI spokesman, quoted in news reports, pointed out that the $20 millionspent on cold fusion was "was a pittance" compared with what is spent on otherenergy programs, like nuclear fast breeder reactors. Unfortunately, Japan's official NHE program could have had a major impact on the world's future in sustainable energy-- eliminating not only the need for fossil fuels but dangerous and problem-plagued programs such as breeder reactors. Instead the news about the NHE program, certain to be abused by critics of cold fusion, will simply muddy the waters.
Let there be no misunderstanding: The prospective NHE closing has nothing to do with determining whether excess energy and low energy reactions are real or not. The evidence for excess heat and nuclear reactions at low energy is overwhelmingly established by numerous published peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed papers and reports.
Excellent experimental continuing work that totally confirms the original cold fusion claims, and more, has been done in Japan. We cite, in particular the work of Drs. Yoshiaki Arata and Yue-Chang Zhang, which was recently the topic of a 56-page special issue of the High Temperature Society of Japan., "Solid State Plasma Fusion ('Cold Fusion')" Vol. 23, January 1997. This work has also been published in several papers in the Proceedings of the Japanese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Arata is an esteemed physicist who had been instrumental in Japan's hot fusion program.
Among other continuing activity in Japan, Infinite Energy has profiled the work of Dr. Mizuno on excess energy from solid state (solid proton conductor) cold fusion devices and established transmutation in metals of more conventional cold fusion devices. Drs. Ohmori and Enyo have obtained excellent excess heat results in light water systems. They have also observed and published evidence of metal transmutation phenomena. These scientists have been ignored in the official NHE program. In general, the NHE program has not given serious, appropriate attention to the excess energy phenomenon in light-water cold fusion cells, which is the preferred embodiment in many US-based efforts.
In the United States, commercial activity in cold fusion energy has accelerated beyond the Japanese work. Clean Energy Technologies, Inc. of Sarasota Florida (CETI), BlackLight Power, Inc. of Malvern, Pennsylvania, and ENECO of Salt Lake City-- to name the more well-known efforts-- are developing commercial heating and electricity generating devices. Several major utility companies have established investment positions within some of these companies. The Cincinnati Group in Ohio has recently announced for sale a commercial demonstration device that transmutes radioactive thorium into benign nuclides in less than an hour. CETI, whose cold fusion heating devices have been profiled several times on Good Morning America and Nightline, also has a radioactivity reducing processes for which a United States Patent has been allowed. A cold fusion New Energy Technologies investment fund, directed from Greenwich Venture Partners of Greenwich, Connecticut has just been launched (see Infinite Energy, Vol.3, Issue #13/14.)
The New York Times, which influences all other science reporting in the United States, has regrettably not been covering progress in cold fusion research. Its last comprehensive report on cold fusion was on November 17, 1992, by Andrew Pollack, who is based in Japan. Mr. Pollack has not attended cold fusion conferences in Japan or anywhere else, but he was quick this week to report MITI's decision on the NHE program. The Times report was published on August 26, 1997, in an article titled "Japan, Long a Holdout, Ending Cold Fusion Quest." He states that the research "has failed to confirm that the phenomenon exists." This is a gross misunderstanding of the situation. We also point out that New York Times science reporter, William Broad, recently shown the work of Drs. Arata and Zhang by a representative of Dr. Arata, refused to report on it. Broad has previously (1991) written on accusations by cold fusion critics of alleged (and disproved) ethical violations by Drs. Pons and Fleischmann. While giving major attention to announcements of US hot fusion program achievements, Mr. Broad and his US-based colleagues have not covered cold fusion in the United States or Japan since his article in 1991.
The recent Times article by Pollack quotes Hideo Ikegami: "We couldn't achieve what was first claimed in terms of cold fusion. We can't find any reason to propose more money for the coming year or for the future." Jed Rothwell of Infinite Energy points out that hot fusion scientist Ikegami himself obtained positive results in his lab, which he transmitted to Rothwell. But Ikegami never published them, for reasons that remain unclear. Unless he is being misquoted by the New York Times, we do not understand why he is ignoring the many positive experimental results in Japan.
The Nikkei reported the NHE story on August 24, 1997. It quotes a MITI spokesman, "regrettably, we have not seen the effect in our experiments," but "we do not deny that the cold fusion effect exists."
Infinite Energy Magazine will have a comprehensive report on cold fusion research
in Japan in its next issue, Issue #15, to be published in October 1997.
Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.
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