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Tiny Nuclear Reactions Inside Compact Fluorescent Bulbs?

• forbes

Harmless low-energy nuclear reactions may be taking place routinely inside of compact fluorescent lightbulbs, according to a physicist whose theories have NASA researchers abuzz with the prospect of cheap, non-polluting energy.

Nuclear reactions may be responsible for an unusual fingerprint of mercury isotopes in used fluorescents that can identify environmental pollution from the bulbs, said Lewis Larsen, a Chicago physicist associated with the Widom-Larsen Theory, which explores slow nuclear reactions among elements that are not radioactive.

“Unbeknownst to the general public, dynamically active nuclear processes are presently occurring in tens of millions of households worldwide,” Larsen told me.

“Fortunately, there aren’t any radiological health risks associated with CFLs because no hard radiation is emitted from them, ” Larsen said, “ and no environmentally hazardous, long-lived radioactive isotopes are typically created by LENRs (low energy nuclear reactions).”

Larsen has suspected low energy nuclear reactions occur in CFLs, he told me, and is encouraged by a February study of used bulbs that found isotopes of mercury that more conventional theories cannot explain.

NASA: A Nuclear Reactor To Replace Your Water Heater Jeff McMahon Jeff McMahon Contributor

The authors of that study analyzed used fluorescent bulbs looking for a unique fingerprint of mercury isotopes. If they could find a unique fingerprint, researchers could identify mercury pollution in the environment that comes from discarded fluorescents:

“All fluorescent lamps use mercury (Hg) and can be a source of Hg to the environment when broken,” write the authors, led by Chris Mead of Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability, in a February issue of Environmental Science and Technology (subscription required).

As compact fluorescents command a larger share of the lighting market, the researchers expect mercury pollution from the bulbs to increase:

“The share of atmospheric anthropogenic Hg emissions represented by fluorescent lightbulbs in the United States is 1–5 percent. Only a third of fluorescent lightbulbs are recycled. As fluorescent lighting continues to supplant incandescent lighting, and as emissions from large point sources of Hg, such as coal-fired power plants and municipal waste incinerators are reduced, fluorescents will become an increasingly important source of Hg to the environment. Therefore, a method to detect and quantify Hg derived from fluorescents would be very useful.”

The researchers found their unique fingerprint for mercury from fluorescent bulbs. But they can’t explain why it’s so unique:

“The trapped Hg of used CFL show unusually large isotopic fractionation (the distribution of mercury into its various isotopes), the pattern of which is entirely different from that which has been observed in previous Hg isotope research aside from intentional isotope enrichment.”

Larsen believes he knows why the mercury isotopes in used CFLs are different:

“When viewed through the conceptual lens of the Widom-Larsen theory, Mead et al.’s carefully collected Hg isotope data suggests that low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) transmutations may actually be occurring at extremely low rates in CFLs during normal operation,” he said.

And that should make the idea of home nuclear reactors less frightening, Larsen said.

“If this outstanding new data is substantiated by further experimentation, it provides yet more proof that LENRs are likely to be a truly ‘green,’ safe nuclear technology.”

Larsen hopes to demonstrate that low-energy nuclear reactions are safe, green and commonplace in part to distinguish them from fission reactions that produce dangerous ionizing radiation in conventional reactors. He has found evidence of LENRs occurring in lithium-ion batteries, catalytic converters, and naturally in bacterial processes and lightning.

Many researchers, including NASA scientists, are working on low-energy nuclear reactors that use non-hazardous fuels like nickel and hydrogen to produce energy and non hazardous by-products, like copper. I discuss the reactors in more detail in a prior post, NASA: A Nuclear Reactor To Replace Your Water Heater.

But if low energy nuclear reactions are so commonplace, why haven’t scientists noticed them before? In part because they haven’t looked. LENR activity is subtle, according to Larsen, and it “can only be readily detected and measured through the use of extraordinarily sensitive mass spectroscopy techniques on stable isotopes.”

“Consequently, for nearly 100 years LENR processes have effectively been hidden in plain sight from the vast majority of the scientific community.”

 

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

So, the ideas of the old-age alchemists - turning lead and other compounds into gold - might not be so farfetched after all. Perhaps inside the private Vatican Library - the final resting place for many of the age-old manuscripts collected by Alexander the Great - one can also find the working formulae for all kinds of alchemical "nuclear" conversions. The thing that is clouding the finding and using of these formulae, is not the Roman Church, directly. It is the fostered, standard thinking of the scientists - which is probably guided in the way it has been used, by both the Church and the Power Elite.


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