December 1, 2004
The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science (SC) was approached in late 2003 by a group of scientists who requested that the Department revisit the question of scientific evidence for low energy nuclear reactions. In 1987 Pons and Fleischman first reported the production of “excess” heat in a Pd electrochemical cell, and postulated that this was due to D-D fusion (D=deuterium), sometimes referred to as “cold fusion.” The work was reviewed in 1989 by the Energy Research Advisory Board (ERAB) of the DOE. ERAB did not recommend the establishment of special programs within DOE devoted to the science of low energy fusion, but supported funding of peer-reviewed experiments for further investigations. Since 1989, research programs in cold fusion have been supported by various universities, private industry, and government agencies in several countries.
Review and Process
In response to the above request, the Office of Science agreed to a peer review of the experimental data and supporting theory since the 1989 ERAB review. The scientists who made this request were asked to generate a review document that identified the most significant experimental observations and publications, and those areas where additional work would appear to be warranted. This document, entitled “New Physical Effects in Metal Deuterides,” was prepared by Professor Peter Hagelstein of MIT, Dr. Michael McKubre of SRI International, Professor David Nagel of George Washington University, Dr. Talbot Chubb of Research Systems Inc., and Mr. Randall Hekman of Hekman Industries (hereafter referred to as the proposers). Together with supplemental material, said document was submitted to DOE in July 2004 (Attachment 1).
The Basic Energy Sciences and Nuclear Physics Offices in the DOE Office of Science conducted a peer review of the submitted material in a manner typical for a DOE sponsored university or laboratory research program. The review had two components. First, the review document received by DOE was sent out for peer review by mail. Nine scientists with appropriate scientific backgrounds in experimental and theoretical nuclear physics, material science, and electrochemistry were identified by DOE, and were given approximately one month to review the report and supplementary material. The second part of the review consisted of a one-day review conducted on August 23, 2004. The reviewers consisted of nine additional scientists chosen by DOE for their expertise in relevant fields. Anonymous comments from the mail peer review referred to above were provided to members of the reviewers prior to the presentations. Oral presentations were made to the reviewers by research scientists, chosen by the authors of the review document. Six research groups gave approximately one hour presentations on the work being performed in their laboratories. Individual comments from reviewers were requested following the presentations.
In total, 18 individual reviewer comments were received by DOE.
Reviewers were asked to respond to the following charge in their evaluation of the written and/or oral material: (1) To examine and evaluate the experimental and theoretical evidence for the occurrences of nuclear reactions in condensed matter at low energies (less than a few electron volts). (2) To determine whether the evidence is sufficiently conclusive to demonstrate that such nuclear reactions occur. (3) To