38) On production of tritium

Ludwik Kowalski (January, 22, 2003)
Montclair State University
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043

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I have just read “Tritium Production from Low Voltage Deuterium Discharge on Palladium and Other Metals” (by Claytor et al.) and am impressed. Why did this paper appear in the marginal, “Journal of New Energy” (vol 1, #1, 1996, p111-118) rather than, for example, in Physical Review? Did a main-stream journal editor reject the paper as fraudulent science? Would the paper be rejected today?

You may recall my translation of a Russian paper (item #13) describing nuclear reactions occurring in a gas discharge chamber. The paper of T.N. Claytor, D.D. Jackson and D.G. Tuggle is similar, except it focuses on one aspect only -- production of the radioactive material, tritum. The authors are researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory. (It is no longer a secret that tritium is an explosive material of a hydrogen bomb and that LANL is a place focusing on the design of nuclear weapons. Where else can you find better expertise for dealing with tritium then in that laboratory?)

The gas discharge apparatus consisted of a very thin Pd wire (diameter of 100-250 microns), used as a cathode, and a flat Pd plate, used as an anode. The gap between the wire, perpendicular to the plate, and the plate was several millimeters. The deuterium gas pressure was 300 torr. To prevent excessive heating short pulses of current (10 microseconds) were applied at the rate of 20 per second (2000 volts, 3 to 5 A). Tritium was produced when the wire was exposed to discharge plasma; typical accumulation rates were between 0.1 and 0.2 nCi/hr. In one experiment 102 nCi was produced in about 300 hrs. The article describes numerous precautions, and tests conducted, to make sure that observed generation of tritium was real (rather than due to contamination).

What can be a better proof that a nuclear process can take place at nearly room temperatures? Journal of New Energy, in which the article was published, is edited by Hal Fox. I met Hal in Salt Lake City and he showed me his laboratory. But this deserves a separate item.

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