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infinite energy


Challenge to Very Good Science:
Prof. George Miley's Historic U.S. DOE Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions Contract Attacked by Cold Fusion Critics
(Originally Published September-October, 1999 In Infinite Energy Magazine Issue #27)
Compiled by Eugene Mallove
read the follow-up here.

In the last issue of Infinite Energy, we reported the good news that Prof. George Miley's Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Group at the University of Illinois had been awarded a U.S. Department of Energy contract— for an experimental study to verify previously tested electrolytic techniques to remediate radioactive nuclides. This was to be the first overt DOE cold fusion funding since 1989.

As predicted, the good news soured. Cold fusion critics, such as Dr. Robert L. Park of the American Physical Society, learned of the Miley award and apparently immediately went on the attack. Numerous contacts were made to DOE to attempt to derail the peer-reviewed award to Miley's research group. As a result, Miley's funding of approximately $100,000 has been held up by DOE, pending "review" of the science behind the award by an un-named (!) panel of three individuals. (Other universities winning these NER Nuclear Energy Research Initiative awards apparently have received their funding already.)

Science magazine (Vol. 285, 23 July 1999, pp. 505-506) ran a "News of the Week" story by David Malakoff about the challenge, "DOE to Review Nuclear Grant." Malakoff commented editorially, "The restudy represents a potentially embarrassing stumble for DOE's new $19 million Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI), which DOE officials pledged would use top-notch external reviewers to pick the best projects (Science, 11 December 1998, p.1980)...The project's apparent similarity to controversial cold fusion experimentswhich have unsuccessfully sought to use electrochemical reactions to spark energyproducing nuclear fusion at room temperatureraised eyebrows both within and outside DOE."

It is known from both the Science article and discussions with Prof. Miley that NERI manager John Herczeg and DOE nuclear office head Bill Magwood have asked the DOE's Office of Science to review the matter after reportedly proposing to Miley an unorthodox method of dealing with the matter that might have gotten bureaucrats Herczeg and Magwood "off the hook." One DOE engineer who knows the situation, but who is supportive of Miley's work, has let it be known that any blocking of the Miley funding may well be technically illegal. Illegal or not, the actions against Miley are repugnant and disgraceful, part of a pattern of unscientific action by U.S. Government officials within and associated with DOE. It all traces back to the 1989 Huizenga panel's rush-to-judgment report on cold fusion.

According to the Science report, Edwin Lyman from the non-profit Washington, DC arms control group, the Nuclear Control Institute, wrote to Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, "The credibility of DOE will be irreparably damaged unless funding for this cold fusion proposal is immediately withdrawn." Lyman probably knows nothing about cold fusion other than what he gathers from the likes of Robert Park's "What's New" column thus is the pack mentality of the establishment propagated. Reporters like Malakoff never seem to question the basis for the opinions expressed by Lyman et al., nor do they seek supportive comments by cold fusion scientists other than the hapless victimin this case Miley.

Infinite Energy's Eugene Mallove maintains regular contact with U.S. Senator Bob Smith's (R-NH) office, keeping Senator Smith and his advisors apprised of the current state of the cold fusion field. On this serious matter Senator Smith obliged with a thoughtful letter to the DOE, advising them to not be "closed to new ideas and approaches." At least someone in Washington can do the right thing! (Senator Smith, who formerly sought the GOP's Presidential nomination in the 2000 election, recently resigned from the Republican Party and briefly was slated to be the Presidential candidate for the conservative U.S. Taxpayer's Party.) The text of Smith's letter to DOE in full:

July 28, 1999

Mr. John C. Angell
Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs
U.S. Department of Energy
Forrestall Building, Room 7B138
1000 Independence Avenue
SW Washington, DC 20585-0800

Dear Assistant Secretary Angell:
   My office was recently contacted by Dr. Eugene Mallove, Editor-in-Chief, Infinite Energy Magazine and Director of New Energy Research Laboratory located in Bow, New Hampshire. He is extremely concerned about an article in the July issue of Science Magazine which states that the Department of Energy is taking extraordinary measures to review a grant made to George Miley, a nuclear engineer at the University of Illinois.
   It is my understanding that George Miley's academic credentials are well regarded and that his proposal was already subjected to peer review. What seems to have precipitated this unprecedented additional review is that his proposal is similar to work being done by scientists who are investigating "cold fusion." I am aware that there are some experts who view "cold fusion" as pseudo science and that DOE is concerned that its Nuclear Energy Research Initiative dollars are spent wisely. But to not investigate a potential method of transforming radioactive waste into harmless by-products, seems extremely short-sighted and perhaps the outcome of inherent bias at DOE toward conventional fusion technology.
   I would encourage DOE to reconsider its placing of additional impediments in the way of this research project. Miley's research might be of great benefit to the problem of nuclear waste disposal, or it might prove that results seen in similar experiments were merely from accidental contamination. Either way, the research he proposes could be valuable. This grant represents an opportunity for DOE to show it is not closed to new ideas and approaches.
   Please keep me apprised of your agency's decision on this matter. I have directed my Projects Director, Mark Aldrich, to be the point of contact. He can be reached in my Manchester office at 603-634-5000.

Sincerely,
Bob Smith, U.S.S.



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