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No. 96: Nov-Dec 1994

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Cold fission?

That's right: "fission" not "fusion." A recent number of Science News carries an intriguing suggestion from J. Brind:

"Has anyone considered the possibility that the anomaly of "cold fusion" experiments -- high energy yields with few neutrons or tritium nuclei -- might result from a case of mistaken identity? There are a number of nuclear fission reactions that produce neither neutrons nor tritium, yet yield large quantities of energy."

One such reaction is:

7Li + 1H = 2(4He) + 17.3 MeV.

This is a very clean nuclear reaction that might one day be harnessed for everyday use, given lithium's low cost and abundance. The "cold fusion" effects could well come from captures of deuterons by 6Li, which is present in natural lithium.

(Brind, Joel; "Cold Fission?" Science News, 137:163, 1994.)

From Science Frontiers #96, NOV-DEC 1994. 1994-2000 William R. Corliss