Skip to comments.The nuclear reactor in your basement
Posted on 02/28/2013 12:22:53 AM PST by Kevmo
[Vo]:Gizmag: "NASA's basement reactor"
Mark GibbsThu, 21 Feb 2013 10:15:58 -0800
BTW, did everyone see the Gizmag article "NASA's basement reactor" (
http://m.gizmag.com/article/26309). It's a bit fluffy and hand-waving but I
was intrigued by this section:
According to Zawodny, LENR isnt what was thought of as cold fusion and it
doesn't involve strong nuclear forces. Instead, it uses weak nuclear
forces, which are responsible for the decay of subatomic particles. The
LENR process involves setting up the right conditions to turn these weak
forces into energy. Instead of using radioactive elements like uranium or
plutonium, LENR uses a lattice or sponge of nickel atoms, which holds
ionized hydrogen atoms like a sponge holds water.
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
The trick is to configure the process so that it releases more energy than
it needs to get it going. It turns out that the frequencies that we have
to work at are in what I call a valley of inaccessibility, Zawodny said.
Between, say, 5 or 7 THz and 30 THz, we don't have any really good sources
to make our own controlled frequency.
Let the comments begin ...
Here's the original article.
The nuclear reactor in your basement
February 19, 2013 by Bob Silberg
How would you like to replace your water heater with a nuclear reactor? That's what Joseph Zawodny, a senior scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center, hopes to help bring about. It would tap the enormous power of the atom to provide hot water for your bath, warm air for your furnace system, and more than enough electricity to run your house and, of course, your electric car.
If your thoughts have raced to Fukushima or Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, let me reassure you. Zawodny is not suggesting that you put that kind of reactor in your house. What he has in mind is a generator that employs a process called Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions. (The same process is sometimes called Lattice Energy Nuclear Reactions. We'll just call it LENR.) So what is LENR and how might it one day fill all your energy needs without risk of blowing up, melting down, or irradiating the neighbors?
Nuclear energy in a nutshell
The nuclear generators which currently provide some of the world's electricity use a type of fission in which a very heavy nucleus (meaning one with lots of protons and neutrons) such as uranium breaks up into two or more lighter nuclei, releasing energy in the process. The sun and all the other stars use nuclear fusion, in which two light nuclei (such as those of hydrogen) fuse together in an environment of very high temperature and pressure which overwhelms the mutual repulsion of their positive charges. Again, energy is released in the processeven more than in fission. We know how to use fusion in hydrogen bombs, but so far we lack the technology needed to harness it for more civilized purposes. In the 1980s, two scientists named Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced that they had developed a "cold fusion" process that could create fusion through chemical means, without the high temperature or pressure of stars and bombs. There was no theory to explain how that could be possible, and other scientists were unable to reliably reproduce the experiments, so cold fusion lacked credibility for most physicists. Some scientists have continued working on this idea though, and they sometimes call it "LENR." But this process is not what Dr. Zawodny is exploring. "There are a lot of people who are trying to just build something without understanding anything," Zawodny said. "It worked for Edison and the light bulb, but it took him a long time and that was a simple system. This is very complex. And if they make something that just barely works, and accidentally one in a thousand works really, really well, it's going to take down a house with their trial-and-error method."
In theory, a metal (gray) holding hydrogen ions (purple) as a sponge holds water (called a metal hydride) can provide one potential fuel for LENR."Several labs have blown up studying LENR and windows have melted," according to Dennis Bushnell, Langley's chief scientist, in an article he wrote for NASA's Future Innovation website. This, he wrote, indicates that "when the conditions are 'right' prodigious amounts of energy can be produced and released." But it's also an argument for the approach that the Langley researchers favor: master the theory first. The epiphany "For NASA Langley," according to Bushnell's article, "the epiphany moment on LENR was the publication of the Widom-Larsen Weak Interaction LENR Theory," which was published in 2006.
According to Zawodny and Bushnell, this theory provides a better explanation than "cold fusion" for the results which researchers have obtained over the last couple of decades. And it might explain much more than that. At a meeting of the American Nuclear Society in November 2012, the theory's co-developer, Lewis Larsen, speculated that LENR may occur naturally in lightningnot only on present-day Earth, but also in the primordial cloud of gas and dust that became our solar system. If true, LENR might solve a mystery uncovered by NASA's Genesis mission, that the pattern of oxygen isotopes on the sun differs greatly from that of Earth. The theoretical underpinnings of LENR are complex, but the basics are pretty easy to understand. Instead of splitting an atomic nucleus apart or ramming two mutually repelling nuclei together, Widom-Larsen's LENR simply offers a very slow-moving neutron to a nucleus.
According to Zawodny, nuclei presented with sluggish neutrons slurp them up like a hungry Texan with a bowl of firehouse chili. But like many a chili consumer, the nuclei can find that their indulgence makes them, shall we say, unstable. And while I am too polite to continue the chili metaphor past this point, the nuclei do find that emissions relieve their distress. With rare exception, Zawodny said, a nucleus which has lapped up one too many neutrons spits out an electron, which it gets by breaking up one of its neutrons into an electron and proton (and an anti-neutrino, but we can ignore that). So where it once had an extra neutron, making it an unstable isotope of whatever element it was, it now has an extra proton instead, which makes it a more stable isotope of a different element. This process releases energy which, hypothetically, can be used to generate electricity. EnlargeConcepts for an LENR-driven spaceplane developed by NASA and Spaceworks.
According to Zawodny, the challenge in making this work lies at the beginning of the process, generating those ultra-slow neutrons without expending more energy than the process yields. There are several hypothetical versions of the procedure, but here's a good example: We start by processing nickel so that it can hold hydrogen the way a sponge holds water. The hydrogen is ionized, meaning that each hydrogen atom has its electron stripped away, leaving only a proton. Electrons in the metal are made to oscillate together in such a way that the electromagnetic energy stored in tens of thousands of them is transferred to a relative few, giving them enough energy to merge with nearby protons (the hydrogen ions) and form slow-moving neutrons. Those neutrons, as we noted, are immediately captured by nuclei of the metal atoms, setting in motion a chain of events which turns the nickel into copper and releases useful energy.
The 1 percent solution
One percent of the nickel mined each year could meet the world's energy requirements at around a quarter of the cost of coal, according to estimates cited by Bushnell. There are other interesting options as well, like turning carbon into harmless nitrogen, the main component of our atmosphere. "I don't know what could possibly be cleaner than that," Zawodny said. "You're not sequestering carbon, you're totally removing carbon from the system." In fact, this would be a great way to dispose of some toxic carbon compounds, such as those that were used in electrical transformers. "It's just a nasty sludge that everyone doesn't know what to do with," he said. "That's perfect fuel, in theory." So what's the hitch? It's creating the right oscillation. "It turns out that the frequencies that we have to work at are in what I call a valley of inaccessibility," Zawodny said. "Between, say, 5 or 7 THz and 30 THz, we don't have any really good sources to make our own controlled frequency."
But solving that problem can wait until the theory is better understood. "From my perspective, this is still a physics experiment," Zawodny said. "I'm interested in understanding whether the phenomenon is real, what it's all about. Then the next step is to develop the rules for engineering. Once you have that, I'm going to let the engineers have all the fun." And he is sure that if the Widom-Larsen theory is shown to be correct, resources to support the necessary technological breakthroughs will come flooding in. "All we really need is that one bit of irrefutable, reproducible proof that we have a system that works," Zawodny said. "As soon as you have that, everybody is going to throw their assets at it. And then I want to buy one of these things and put it in my house."
More information: More information about energy-related innovations at NASA and Caltech is available at climate.nasa.gov/EnergyInnovations/ Provided by JPL/NASA
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-nuclear-reactor-basement.html#jCp
The Cold Fusion/LENR Ping List
Remember the episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” where a guy had a pill that turned water into gasoline? Same level of science.
Same level of science.
***baloney. Some dude on a comedy fiction show is no way to make a point, because that dude didn’t have the backing of multi$billion companies such as National Instruments, STMicro, Toyota, Mitsubishi and 14,700 replications. Why would multi$billion corporations stick their neck out for a bigfoot level scientific issue? None of you supposed skeptics have answered that.
Grandma always said, there is one born every second or so.
If you don’t know that the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force are standard physics, you have no basis for criticising the science. Your ignorance is what is now on display.
Oh, OK, thank you.
Thanks for the interesting article.(p)
There’s a group of know it all know nothings who live to see your screen name and fall over themselves to look stupid.
Just as I said, a lab curiosity, experiments with varying theories, outcomes and methods...and failures.
Skeptical? You bet....of the LENR powered cars, water heaters, industrial heating and robotic factories that have been so gullibly accepted.
Lab Curiosity? One which has been replicated 14,700 times.
Thanks 4 Bumping The Thread T4BTT
The weak and strong nuclear forces are two of the four fundamental forces in nature. (along with electromagnetism and gravity)
Weak Nuclear Force is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars.
Strong Nuclear Force is the force that binds protons and neutrons together to form the nucleus of an atom.
An excellent description of EVERY scientific discovery and engineering advance ever made. And typically misleading.
Also very typically skeptopath lingo, in this case, the specific meme is: "if you can't actually deny the science, make it look like it will never yield a practical result".
Meanwhile, "hot fusion" chugs along, gulping down billions of dollars in funding, and not yet having reached breakeven....a point passed by LENR with Pons and Fleischmann.
For lurkers: if you want to learn more about cold fusion, THE best reference is Charles Beaudette's book "Excess Heat". The book gives an excellent treatment of the replicated science AND some of the sociology behind LENR being branded "pathological science"......a meme regularly regurgitated by FR's skeptopath crowd.
It's a meaningless figure, totally.
I’m not sure I understand how converting nickel to copper releases energy.
Copper has a slightly lower binding energy than nickel. Converting nickel to copper is the opposite of fission
The reality is that in the Ni-H system, nobody really knows what the heck is actually going on.
Howver, for the Pd-D system the overall reaction is unquestionably 2D2 --> He4 + energy.
Enough good quality experimental evidence is available to prove that the total energy released and measured by calorimetry is very near the 24MEV per helium nucleus formed (amount of He formed typically measured by mass spec--either high resolution (to distinguish between the masses of the deuterium molecule and the helium atom) or by lower resolution with the deuterium chemicallyremoved before measurement to prevent the interfering mass spectral overlap at the lower resolution).
So you will have to have a big family to have a 24 hour reactor watch and control room watch.
Kind of like wind and solar energy; they work, but the cost exceeds the value.
And here we have another tactic of the anti-LENR skeptopath. In this case, disparagement of the researcher and the organization he worked for. After all, the "Chinese Academy of Science" is a less than worthy organization, and anyone they employ must, by inference, be incompetent.
The reality is that the CAS's scientists are probably the equal of the US NAS, and perhaps better. And the article in question is A REVIEW ARTICLE, which is intended to be a thorough summation of the state of the science at a specific point in time. What a REAL researcher does with such an article is to "read through" and look up the original papers referenced. No single reviewer (or group of reviewers) can possibly do an in-depth check of every paper referenced....even if they work for the US NAS.
"It's a meaningless figure, totally."
Yup, that is the meme that you and the rest of the skeptopaths are selling today and every day.
Your position is being whittled down to claiming that a scientist at the Chinese Academy of Science cannot count. Your skepticism is utterly ridiculous.
Thanks 4 Bumping The Thread T4BTT
I see the usual skeptics all running in small circles. Thanks for the article.
I don’t care whether he, also He, can count or not, it’s you who keep tossing that figure out as though it means something.
I’ll put my “nuclear reactor” right next to the anti-gravity boots and Big Foot pictures in the basement.
Thanks 4 Bumping The Thread T4BTT
You’re welcome Kev. LOL That’s what the bumps are for.
Thanks 4 Bumping The Thread T4BTT
oops, I replied to the wrong post.
Thanks for providing the humor.
In his rush to insult LENR, he threw out half of the fundamental forces in nature. That truly is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Skepticism is a highly under rated virtue.
Recall the story of Turk, the chess playing machine.
The founder of NI is eccentric, as they say of crazy people with money. The company itself is not so hot on cold fusion. Supposedly, the car companies have been tinkering for nearly 15 years and haven't made a dime on their cold fusion claims. And 14,700 sightings of the Chupacabra doesn't make it real.
Only one replication makes it real. If the Chupacabra evidence were published in hundreds of peer reviewed science articles, its existence would not be questioned other than by skeptopaths, like those who think the moon landing was faked.
Thanks 4 Bumping The Thread T4BTT
These threads always remind me of the "witch > duck" scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail and I always enjoy reading them.
Typically, the amount of energy required to get you going (the activation energy, or Eact) is far higher than the amount needed to keep you going. This Eact can be decreased through the use of a catalyst. Obviously, Mrs. outofsalt merely needs to apply the proper catalyst.
True in many cases of both chemistry and physics, but not necessarily so in LENR.
There have been cases with gas-loaded systems in which the LENR reaction HAS STARTED SPONTANEOUSLY without a long induction phase or high energy startup conditions. I believe that was done by either Miles or Miley (too many sound-alike names in the LENR business) in a zirconia-palladium-deuterium matrix.
And the induction time has been getting shorter and shorter as knowledge has been gained, even for electrolysis-based systems. Co-deposition of palladium and deuterium has sped things up a lot. and increased the percentage of successful (excess heat generating) runs.
Read Beaudette's book yet???
Actually, I was talking about the Eact needed to get Mr. outofsalt going. I wasn't referring to LENR.
No, I did not read that book. I read the reviews of it, and the description. I was not convinced that I need to do any further reading on it.
I have to wonder where you read those reviews??
I'm a very qualified scientific professional, and the quality of the book's coverage was excellent. One of the best "accessible to the educated layman" books I have read in forty years of science practice. He covers the experimental evidence in sufficient depth to make the "science case" to both the educated layman and the science professional, and no more. Which is very different from Storm's book and the LENR/CANR library of publications, which can overwhelm with detail.
And for lurkers, if you really want to get "up to speed" on LENR that is the progression I would recommend. Read Beaudette first, then Storms, and then dig into the LENR/CANR papers from there.
No need to buy the books, just ask your public library to borrow them from another library. It takes a few days, but well worth it.
But I think, at bottom, your attitude is "my mind is made up....don't confuse me with facts". Which basically puts you in the "pseudoscientist" class, despite all the noises you make here about your science qualifications. Sort of like Robert Parks, who refuses to look at ANY LENR papers, but "just knows" it's all just bad science.