Posts at the Independent E-Cat News and the blogs indicate that the US Department of Energy (DOE) maybe in the process of changing its mind about low energy nuclear reaction. E-catsite reports that Albert L. Opdenaker III a designated federal officer in charge of Fusion Energy Services at the DOE’s Office of Science sent an e-mail to an unknown individual on November 14, 2011, that seems to indicate a change of attitude.

In the e-mail Opdenaker states that he has been following reports about Andrea Rossi and e-cat on line. He admitted that he only learned about Rossi about two months ago (which would have been in September). Opdenaker began researching the subject after being assigned to respond to e-mails that Secretary of Energy Steven Chu was receiving about Rossi’s work. Mr. Opdenaker changed his mind about cold fusion after talking to Dr. Dennis Bushnell the Chief Scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Bushnell has been performing cold fusion research for years and has emerged as a supporter of it.

US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has been receiving inquires about cold fusion and is inquiring about them

From the e-mail it seems that Opdenaker seems to think that LENR is real and worthy of study. Nothing to indicate a change of official policy on the part of the DOE is mentioned though but it could be forthcoming. He had some interesting things to write about Bushnell and Rossi though:

“My change of mind was a direct result of talking with Dr. Dennis Bushnell, the Chief Scientist for NASA Langley who has assured me that over 100 experiments worldwide indicate that LENR is real, capable of producing energy much greater that chemical reactions, with minimal radiation, that theories indicate that what is happening is weak interactions, beta decay and NOT fusion of any kind.”

Odpenaker also gave us Bushnell’s opinion of Rossi and his work:

“He believes that the Rossi demonstrations suggest that LENR may produce “useful” quantities of heat, and what is needed is 10-20 years of work to engineer Rossi’s ideas for performance.”

From this comment it is apparent that Bushnell thinks Rossi is achieving results but that much more work is needed to commercialize the technology. It should be noted that as far as I know Bushnell has not actually examined the e-cat or seen it in operation.

This e-mail should not be taken as official confirmation of a change of policy. The DOE’s official policy is that reviews in 2004 and 1989 found that cold fusion or Low Energy Nuclear Reaction was not worth pursuing. Instead it seems to be officials hedging their bets and protecting their reputations. Odpenaker also admitted that the DOE knows little about the work:

“I am unable to tell you when the DOE is going to take note of this development. As of today, as far as I can tell, few people at DOE are aware of what is going on.”

So it seems the US Department of Energy could be changing its mind. It is interesting to note that unconfirmed reports indicate that the Department of Defense (the Pentagon) seems to take LENR seriously and is working on it. Even as reports are circulating that the US Navy’s cold fusion research efforts have been stopped.

Cold Fusion Pioneer Dies
The Indian press is reporting that P K Iyengar, one of the pioneers of cold fusion research has died. Iyengar apparently conducted LENR research in the 1980s. He was a leading physicist in India where he was chairman of that nation’s Atomic Energy Commission. Iyengar was second in command of India’s first atomic bomb test in 1974. He also helped designed India’s first plutonium reactor. India’s cold fusion experiments apparently ended after Iyengar retired.