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In this Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) briefing document prepared for the US House of Representatives, we can read (page 8):

The committee is aware of recent positive developments in developing low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which produce ultra-clean, low-cost renewable energy that have strong national security implications. For example, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), if LENR works it will be a "disruptive technology that could revolutionize energy production and storage." The committee is also aware of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) findings that other countries including China and India are moving forward with LENR programs of their own and that Japan has actually created its own investment fund to promote such technology.

The above document was linked from this New Scientist article.

What kind of recent LENR positive developments this document is talking about?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know of any positive scientific developments, but there are always charlatans claiming improbable successes and politicians gullible enough to believe them. $\endgroup$ – Lewis Miller Sep 20 '16 at 15:08
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Perhaps the following report was one significant piece of information that stimulated the US House report:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBossinvestigat.pdf

INVESTIGATION OF NANO-NUCLEAR REACTIONS IN CONDENSED MATTER FINAL REPORT Dr. Pamela A. Mosier-Boss, Mr. Lawrence P. Forsley, Dr. Patrick J. McDaniel

Performed for the Defense Threat Reduction agency.

This summary of research funded by the US Navy over many years, coupled with a large number of positive reports from various other agencies and groups around the world, may have helped to stimulate renewed interest within the US Gov't. I think that it is fair to say that the probability that LENR is a real effect is almost surely between zero and one. If it turns out to be true, then the impact on humanity will be un-measurable. If it turns out to be false, then the impact of having wasted research money to explore it would be essentially negligible from a global perspective. It makes sense therefore for humanity to spend some money studying it, as it has in fact been doing in isolated investments internationally. In my personal opinion, if LENR is true, then it means that our current understanding of nuclear and condensed matter physics are deficient, as they seem to preclude the possibility that most of the LENR experimental reports are possible. But at some point the number of experimental claims by legitimate researchers can no longer be dismissed based on theoretical bias, no matter how well accepted it is. There is a need for more physicists to become active in this field, but the reputation trap that most would face if they did, not to mention the lack of support, are extreme negative inducements. There may also be negative effects of LENR that aren't apparent to us now, so that it should be carefully monitored. Because of the upside potential, it is impossible to prevent overly optimistic and eager inventors from trying to capitalize on the prospect of unlimited nearly free energy. There have been a number of unsuccessful inventors and startups trying to build LENR or cold fusion reactors over the years. The first one that I know of was John Tandberg, at Electrolux in Sweden, in the 1920s (http://newenergytimes.com/v2/books/Reviews/SoederbergByBritz.shtml).

Someday one of them might succeed.

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There has recently been a rise in investment in cold fusion and related technologies. This is summarised nicely in a recent New Scientist article.

I must emphasise that there has never been, and is not now, any evidence that cold fusion works. However there is a real and undeniable increase in investment houses willing to fund companies that claim they are making progress in it. The House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services is reacting to the change in funding and not any change in the scientific evidence available.

I suspect the rise in investment is because (a) finding investment opportunities in the current market conditions is hard and (b) for most venture capital companies the amounts involved are chicken feed.

To be fair to the committee this is one of those cases where a successful development would be one of the biggest shake-ups experienced since the industrial revolution, and if it were made by a country hostile to the US that would give the US a big problem. Given that the committee members are not physicists a certain amount of interest in the research going on is understandable.

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    $\begingroup$ No doubt I've got a high wishful-thinking-to-skepticism ratio, but this post by Ron Maimon impressed me. I haven't heard a good counter-argument. Sadly, Ron has moved on. $\endgroup$ – Mike Dunlavey Sep 20 '16 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ This is certainly the consensus, I mean that all published evidence for cold fusion is fraudulent or the result of honest mistakes, but I think an answer like "everybody knows that" is not good enough. The failure to reproduce an experiment may be due to unknown unknowns. From reading about the social side of things, that is to say, witch hunts, it seems serious efforts were virtually non-existent, some stray researchers here and there, a few million dollars, barely enough to pay salaries. So I think we can only say: "we still don't know for sure". $\endgroup$ – Evgeni Sergeev Oct 16 '16 at 8:03
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See this overview regarding the inclusion in House Report 114-537 Part I, of the requirement for the Secretary of Defense to report to the House Armed Services Committee on LENR by September 22, 2016.

LENRIA Press Release: House Committee requires LENR briefing from Secretary of Defence

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any association with Lenria? $\endgroup$ – kenorb Sep 23 '16 at 8:37

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