There is a third choice in nuclear power: low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), otherwise known as cold fusion. This science needs to be developed further and given high priority in funding.
Cold fusion refers to a safe, clean, decentralized energy source that has no harmful byproducts and could supply 100% of our energy needs, replacing dirty energy sources such as oil, gas, and coal forever.
Originally, cold fusion was the term given to the energy effect announced by electrochemistry Professors’ Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann in 1989. This phenomenon produced energies unable to be explained by the conventional electro-chemical processes, but by fusion reactions.
Conventional theories of fusion reactions dictate that they occur only under conditions of extreme heat and pressure, like inside of our Sun and the stars. The Pons and Fleischmann effect was produced inside a beaker on a table top at room temperature.
Their original experiment used two electrodes of palladium and platinum immersed in heavy water, a type of water containing deuterium and an isotope of hydrogen found in sea-water. When a small current was applied to the electrodes, more heat energy was created than electrical energy put in. Thus the designation of a source of energy.
After the initial announcement in 1989, controversy ensued when some scientists could not reproduce the results. That, together with the fact that the effect did not fit in to conventional theory, led many scientists to disregard the phenomenon. However, some scientists did reproduce the effect. It is these scientists who have continued to refine this process over the past twenty years, determining the conditions for success with astounding results.
As of 2009, some labs are producing tens of Megawatts from 0.3 grams of palladium. Energy output currently ranges from 10-25 times the energy input. Not half bad!
Now, the term cold fusion is being used to describe a number of low-temperature nuclear reactions, including variations on the Pons-Fleischmann design, any of which have the possibility to be Earth’s dominant energy source for the future – clean and plentiful, with no radioactive waste.
Renewed attention to alternative energies due to the many crises rooted in burning hydrocarbons is finally increasing the financial support for this research.
If funding for this technology increased, within the time it takes to build a nuclear power plant in the US, approximately 8-10 years, we could possibly have a safe, clean, plentiful energy source to power the future.
To learn more about what cold fusion is, watch the CBS 60 minutes piece (12 mins) on Cold Fusion: More Thank Junk Science linked from the top of the page. Hope is on the way!
From the article 2001: The Coming Age of Hydrogen Power Arthur C. Clarke wrote “…Yet for five years, Washington didn’t believe that the Wright brothers had actually flown— because everybody knew it was impossible: leading scientists were still writing papers proving it couldn’t be done. Not until the Wrights went to France and started giving public demonstrations did the boys in the War Department say, “My goodness, these things really can fly. Perhaps they may even be useful for reconnaissance. We’d better look into it.” And they did— five years late. Well, history has just repeated itself, with what’s been (perhaps inaccurately) named “cold fusion…” “
Infinite-Energy Magazine Issue #22 1998
Read the comparison between the Wright Brothers development of the airplane and cold fusion science from Jed Rothwell’s piece entitled The Wright Brothers and Cold Fusion first published in Infinite-Energy Magazine Issue #9 1996.