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 experiments which have
unsuccessfully sought to use electrochemical reactions to spark
energy producing nuclear fusion
at room temperature raised 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 victim
in 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
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.
Bob Smith, U.S.S.