Friday Nuclear Matinee: Low Energy Nuclear Reactions

The ANS Nuclear Cafe today brings faithful viewers a short interview with Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, senior research scientist at NASA Langley Research Center. Zawodny discusses research on “Low Energy Nuclear Reactions” at NASA Langley, and the incredible potential of this new form of nuclear power—IF theory is validated by experimental results.

See this basic explication of the science from Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Center: Low Energy Nuclear Reactions: The Realism and the Outlook (caution: labs blowing up, windows melting…)

The American Nuclear Society conducted an LENR panel session organized by Mr. Steven B. Krivit at the ANS 2012 Winter Meeting.

Ultra low momentum neutron catalyzed nuclear reactions
on metallic hydride surfaces seminal paper by Widom and Larsen

Discover Magazine Big Idea: Bring Back the “Cold Fusion” Dream

As Bushnell says, some seriously “strange” things are going on—possibly with the potential to change the world.

Thanks to NASA Langley, and tip of cap to Nuclear Energy Institute Facebook

10 thoughts on “Friday Nuclear Matinee: Low Energy Nuclear Reactions

  1. Steven B. Krivit

    Dr. Storms,

    In your first message, which started this comment thread, you wrote, “Many other explanations have much better consistency with observed behavior and with basic physics.”

    In case you missed my question yesterday, please, which theories did you have in mind sir?

    Thank you.

  2. Edmund Storms

    I want to thank Mr. Larsen and Mr. Krivit for providing more details about their assertions as to the value of the W-L theory. However, this comment section of a blog is not the correct venue for a detailed analysis of the W-L theory. This discussion should take place where science is normally debated these days. Either a suitable website should be used, such as CMNS, or at a conference devoted to the subject, such as ICCF, which is scheduled in July. Such a debate was attempted recently on CMNS but was terminated abruptly by Mr. Larsen before the issues could be fully explored. In contrast to what Mr. Krivit has said, people in the field of cold fusion are willing to explore any idea that is based on fact, correct understanding of general science, and logic. The W-L theory does not appear to meet these standards even though a great deal of information about the theory has been published. I invite Mr. Larsen to change this impression by giving a paper at ICCF-18.

  3. Lewis Larsen

    Addendum to my previous comment:

    Since it was not mentioned anywhere in the related ANS Nuclear Café blog posts on which I am commenting, I would like to note that in 2010 we published a lengthy review paper about the Widom-Larsen theory of LENRs in “Pramana – Journal of Physics”, which is a peer-reviewed publication of the Indian Academy of Science.

    The reference for our 20-page “Pramana” paper and hyperlink to a free, as-published copy located on the journal’s website is as follows:

    “A primer for electroweak induced low-energy nuclear reactions”
    Y. N. Srivastava, A. Widom, and L. Larsen
    Pramana – Journal of Physics 75 (4) pp. 617 – 637 October 2010

    Abstract: Under special circumstances, electromagnetic and weak interactions can induce low-energy nuclear reactions to occur with observable rates for a variety of processes. A common element in all these applications is that the electromagnetic energy stored in many relatively slow-moving electrons can — under appropriate circumstances — be collectively transferred into fewer, much faster electrons with energies sufficient for the latter to combine with protons (or deuterons, if present) to produce neutrons via weak interactions. The produced neutrons can then initiate low-energy nuclear reactions through further nuclear transmutations. The aim of this paper is to extend and enlarge upon various examples analyzed previously, present order of magnitude estimates for each and to illuminate a common unifying theme amongst all of them.

    Furthermore, in February 2011, Lattice Energy LLC was awarded a fundamental U.S. patent as follows; those who read it will see a clear demarcation between LENRs and the notion of “cold fusion” that we are asserting herein:

    US Patent #7,893,414 B2
    “Apparatus and Method for Absorption of Incident Gamma Radiation and its Conversion to Outgoing Radiation at Less Penetrating, Lower Energies and Frequencies”
    Inventors: L. Larsen and A. Widom
    Issued by the USPTO on February 22, 2011

    Obviously, the U.S. patent office believes that LENRs do constitute valid science, or this particular patent on a novel method and apparatus for highly effective, low-mass gamma radiation shielding would never have survived the examination process and been awarded/issued to our company.

    For a considerable time, well-known “cold fusion” researchers have been complaining loudly and publicly that the US Patent & Trademark Office has been refusing to grant them any patents on their art. Frankly, such a stance by the USPTO should not surprise anyone. Unlike Lattice’s prosecution efforts, incessant patenting attempts by many cold fusioneers have generally been unsuccessful in securing issued patent protection because an underlying concept of “cold fusion” permeates almost all their applications.

    Unlike LENRs, “cold fusion” is scientifically incorrect; in my opinion, the USPTO is simply behaving appropriately. It’s really a question of real science and reliable experimental data versus technical nonsense and unwavering belief in a fallacious theoretical concept of D-D fusion at room temperature/pressure.

    Lewis Larsen
    President and CEO
    Lattice Energy LLC

  4. Steven B. Krivit

    Dr. Storms,

    You stated that “As usual, Krivit is sparing with his facts.” I thought that my post offered references to a fair amount of information, but I am happy to provide more.

    Subscribers to New Energy Times may request a LENR Reading List which includes several of the LENR chapters from the Wiley and Elsevier encyclopedias, as well as other technical references for LENR.

    Debating scientific theories can extend into the infinite in both time and energy. I have neither. I decline to address your issues with the Widom-Larsen theory. Alternatively, you could certainly publish a comment about any meritorious critique you have about the Widom-Larsen theory in a well-regarded peer-review journal and I would take notice.

    You wrote “Many other explanations have much better consistency with observed behavior and with basic physics.”

    Let’s start with the observed behavior. In my slide presentation "The Big Picture of Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction Research," as I presented at the ANS meeting in San Diego, I summarized the LENR experimental phenomena. The presentation is also available in a YouTube video. I have also compiled an index of the more common LENR and "cold fusion" theories.

    However, I don’t know any other theories that can better explain LENR than the Widom-Larsen theory. I don’t even know of one that comes close. For a weak-interaction based theory, you have to identify a real source of neutrons. WL are the only ones who have done this. For the "cold fusion" type theories, you have to invoke "new physics," and I have trouble taking such ideas seriously. Which theories did you have in mind?

    Thank you,
    Steven B. Krivit
    Publisher and Senior Editor, New Energy Times
    Editor-in-Chief, 2011 Wiley Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia

  5. Lewis Larsen

    I am a co-developer of the Widom-Larsen theory of LENRs and would like to make some comments about the issue of experimental evidence for our peer-reviewed, published theoretical work.

    As Mr. Krivit correctly stated, our theory does not involve fusion of charged particles with high Coulomb energetic barriers; LENRs are thus not any type of fusion — hot, “cold,” warm, or otherwise. That being the case, it should not be surprising that this new type of breakthrough theoretical thinking would be regarded as apostasy and rejected by a coterie of competing LENR researchers who have relentlessly and vociferously promoted the fatally flawed notion of “cold fusion” for 20+ years.

    Importantly, it is not a matter of asserting my ‘belief’ in the correctness of our physics. Au contraire, it is simply an objective factual determination of whether our theory can successfully explain key distinguishing features of an array of previously inexplicable experimental results. The answer to that question is unequivocal: it does do so. Moreover, the broad expanse of published experimental data we cite that our theory finally explains goes back nearly 100 years; the first reliably reported experimental data clearly involving LENRs was observed and published long before Pons & Fleischmann’s television debacle in 1989 and many decades prior to whatever R&D NASA might nor might not be doing today.

    Specifically, there is a varied body of reported and published experimental data both (from inside and especially outside the narrow confines of the field that was formerly — and erroneously — called “cold fusion”) that is in excellent agreement with many different types of predictions made by our theory; these supportive experimental results are both voluminous and readily available to those interested in learning further technical details about our work.

    I will not engage in lengthy, time-wasting online polemics about theory. The intellectually curious are urged to review readily accessible information and form their own opinions about the correctness and practical utility of our work.

    In that regard, Lattice has released a free public document in the form of a 63-slide PowerPoint presentation dated Nov. 21, 2012, that provides a comprehensive Index to key concepts, many examples of confirmatory third-party experimental evidence, and an assortment of other hyperlinked documents concerning the Widom-Larsen theory and LENRs; it is available for online viewing in “fullscreen” mode or as a pdf download at:

    This document is organized into four Appendices: Appendix 1 – Technical theoretical papers; contain rigorous physics and mathematics; Appendix 2 – Lattice’s SlideShare presentations; varied technical levels, little or no mathematics; Appendix 3 – ‘Plain English’ general articles written for a broad audience; and Appendix 4 – Various coverage/commentaries; includes interviews and multimedia.

    Within each Appendix, hyperlinked documents are listed in chronological order, beginning with the oldest and ending with the newest. Each document then has: unique document ID #; some sort of name or title; usually short piece of descriptive text, sometimes with comments; and finally a document’s Internet source URL when available.

    Lewis Larsen
    President and CEO
    Lattice Energy LLC

  6. Edmund Storms

    As usual, Krivit is sparing with his facts. The Widom-Larsen theory conflicts with basic scientific knowledge and with known behavior of LENR. That is why I and many other people who bothered to study the theory have rejected it. Yes, I worked for Larsen for about 2 years and I still hold units in his company. I rejected the theory initially and still do for the same reasons, which were made public at least 7 years ago in my book and since by many other people. These reason have not been addressed by Larsen or Krivit.

  7. Steven B. Krivit

    Thanks for mentioning this research. I think a little background would be helpful.

    Larsen and Widom’s theory, initially published in EPJC in 2006, states and explains that LENRs are fundamentally a weak-interaction process, not a strong-force interaction, as occurs in fusion. Going back 24 years, it wasn’t fair to dismiss the entire topic out of hand in 1989 just because the idea of “cold fusion” didn’t agree with prevailing theory. But a decade later, the experimental evidence, including reports of energetic charged particles, neutron bursts and anomalous isotopic shifts, made clear that there was some kind of real nuclear phenomena going on, and that it had nothing to do with fusion.

    We have a lot of information about the theory available here: I also recommend our LENR FAQ page:

    When Widom and Larsen published their theory and showed that LENRs could be explained using conventional physics, without having to invoke “new physics,” and the theory was recognized by mainstream scientists and institutions (SPAWAR, DTRA, CERN, ANS), this infuriated a few of the researchers who were stuck in the “cold fusion” mindset and refused to avail themselves of the growing body of knowledge and data in the field.

    Dr. Storms is one of these people and is Larsen’s most vocal critic. His comment that the Widom-Larsen theory of LENRs is a “universally rejected theory,” is correct only in that it is rejected by “cold fusion” proponents like Storms.

    Conflict in science, of course, is nothing new.

    I’d also like to point out my May 24, 2012 New Energy Times article “NASA and Widom-Larsen Theory: Inside Story”

    It begins: “Yesterday, the NASA Langley Future Innovation Department uploaded a short video clip in which NASA said that it wants to test and confirm the Widom-Larsen ultra-low-momentum neutron theory of low-energy nuclear reactions. New Energy Times made some inquiries, and the inside story suggests a very different picture.”

    The article continues:

    Thank you,

    Steven B. Krivit
    Publisher and Senior Editor, New Energy Times
    Editor-in-Chief, 2011 Wiley Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia

  8. Frank Znidarsic

    I wrote a book on cold fusion. “Energy, Cold Fusion, and Antigravity” at Amazon. It describes cold fusion and the quantum condition as a point were the velocity of a longitudinal wave in the nucleus equals the velocity of the transverse electronic wave. The energy levels of the atom, the amplitude of harmonic motion, and the spin of the electron emerged from the analysis.
    Pictures and stories are included to make the story real and interesting.

  9. Bruce Behrhorst

    LENR is re-branding Cold-Fusion. Why is NASA on unobtainium type ‘Green’ fizzy heavy water fuel? Is it because they dream of building a Cold-Fusion rocket engine??

  10. Edmund Storms

    The experimental approach and the intention for applying LENR in space should be be admired. The problem is with the theory being explored. This theory is flawed on so many ways, all of which have been well explained in published papers, that I’m amazed that NASA would seriously explore the idea. Many other explanations have much better consistency with observed behavior and with basic physics. Why is a universally rejected theory being used by NASA is my question?

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