After 23 years, researchers at the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego, Calif., have been ordered to stop their low-energy nuclear reaction research.
On or about Nov. 9, 2011, Rear Admiral Patrick Brady , commander of SPAWAR, ordered SPAWAR researchers to terminate all LENR research. The order came seven days after Fox News published a story about Andrea Rossi’s Oct. 28, 2011, demonstration of his Energy Catalyzer. New Energy Times discussed the Fox News story on Nov. 9.
Fox contributor John Brandon wrote that a SPAWAR representative attended the demonstration and measured and verified the test. Brandon also wrote that SPAWAR may have been the customer to whom Rossi sold his 1 megawatt device on Oct. 28, 2011 – the same device still sitting in Rossi’s garage in January.
According to sources who are familiar with the commander’s orders but not authorized to discuss them, Brady gave the following instructions to SPAWAR researchers:
1. Immediately cease all LENR research at SPAWAR.
2. Return any unused funds for LENR research.
3. Withdraw any pending proposals for LENR research.
4. Do not publish additional scientific papers on LENR research.
According to the sources, Brady also issued instructions to cancel one of two existing cooperative research and development agreements for LENR research between SPAWAR and JWK International Corp., a private company in Annandale, Va.
New Energy Times sent the list of instructions to James Fallin, the director of public affairs at SPAWAR San Diego, and asked for confirmation.
“In response to your recent query,” Fallin wrote, “while I won’t discuss details of our internal decision-making processes, I will confirm SPAWAR plans no further low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) research. There are other organizations within the federal government that are better aligned to continue research regarding nuclear power. We have taken initial steps to determine how a transition of low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) research might occur.”
According to one of the sources, the rationale that Brady used was that LENR work was not part of SPAWAR’s mission. According to Brady, the source said, its mission is in information dominance, and energy is not part of that mission. New Energy Times read the response from Fallin to the source today.
“It’s bullshit,” the source said.
Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, says that energy is a fundamental part of the Navy’s mission. In a talk on Oct. 13, 2011, Mabus said that the Navy pioneered the use of nuclear technology for its ships and that it has continued to do pioneering energy work.
“This is what we do,” he said. “We change the way we use and produce energy, and we’re doing it again, and we’re at the cutting edge, which is where the Navy has always been on energy use.”
If Brady is thinking of moving LENR research out of SPAWAR and over to the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., that makes little sense because NRL has had a very poor track record in LENRs.
SPAWAR has an impressive track record of more than two dozen original LENR research papers published in peer-reviewed journals. NRL has none.
Brady took command of SPAWAR Aug. 6, 2010, when Rear Admiral Michael C. Bachmann retired.
“For many years, Admiral Bachmann had been extremely supportive, scientific and open-minded about LENR research at SPAWAR,” one of the sources said.
The Bologna Facts
Brandon did not go to Bologna, Italy, to attend the Rossi demonstration. He obtained information about the Oct. 28, 2011, Rossi demonstration from Sterling Allan, who runs a Web site called Pure Energy News Service. Allen is also a sales and business associate of Rossi’s.
Brandon, citing Allen, identified researcher Paul Swanson as the SPAWAR representative who attended the Oct. 28, 2011, demonstration.
According to Fallin, Swanson did not travel to Bologna on official SPAWAR or Navy business, and he paid his travel expenses out of his own pocket.
Swanson did not attend the Oct. 28 demonstration. Rossi had claimed that this demonstration was performed so the “customer” could verify his device. Instead, Swanson attended the Oct. 6, 2011, demonstration.
In his story, Brandon also borrowed and republished a two-year-old quote from another SPAWAR LENR researcher. The quote was irrelevant to the Rossi story, but Brandon’s inclusion of it gave the misleading impression that the researcher’s work was relevant. That connection may have contributed to the commander’s decision.
One of the sources told New Energy Times today that he was concerned about the implications of this type of reaction.
“Imagine the impact on the Department of Defense if a foreign power could effectively cancel a research program by embarrassing some of its top brass,” the researcher said.
A LENR researcher who was aware of the commander’s orders wondered whether he had been influenced in part by the internal factionalism in the LENR field. The SPAWAR researchers’ reports of energetic alpha particles disprove the D+D –> 4He hypothesis.
“The commander’s reaction seems extreme, over the top,” the researcher said. “It makes me wonder.”
[March 1, 2012 Correction: We have removed "neutrons" from the statement about SPAWAR researchers' reports.]