Nuclear fission has a lot of critics, and rightly so ... but all of the problems of fission derive from trying to control a multi-ton critical mass of explosively enriched U in a steam pressurized reactor. Even with that major design problem, the French have demonstrated to the rest of the World that fission can make economic sense.

Even with Fukushima still smoldering, we must consider that an improved version of nuclear fission can make great economic sense. This is especially true for countries without much oil. When the electric car goes into mass production at lower cost (soon) off-peak recharging is a feature which makes fission more economically viable in the 'big picture'.

A "new and improved" version of fission means ditching enrichment, going subcritical, going small and modular and with direct conversion of heat to electricity. It is easily possible that fission can be made preferable to hot fusion in every way, and less costly than any other option including coal and cold fusion, if Pd is required. Surprisingly, fission is cleaner than fusion when radioactive waste is burned in situ.

However, the major and almost insurmountable problem of small subcritical natural uranium reactors is this: finding a cheap source of makeup neutrons. It was once considered impossible.

Enter the virtual neutron - in the form of UDH.

We may be on the verge of a new atomic age... by adopting the lessons learned from LENR into the existing infrastructure of fission. Assuming that reports of neutron generating devices based on converting hydrogen are accurate, we are past the prototype stage and product is being shipped. Here is a long and confused explanation of the phenomenon to convert hydrogen into a neutron or something close... which overlooks UDH and the work of Holmlid and thus is missing the most important insight.

The premise here is that UDH is so similar to a real neutron that it can be designated as virtual, becoming the needed "cheap source of makeup neutrons" for subcritical fission. Never mind that we are not sure that UDH will induce fission as easily as a neutron, but as far back as 1929 Walter Nernst discovered a phenomenon that indicates it will.

The irony cannot be overlooked - the future of affordable and renewable energy may have shifted one eccentric Italian to another, even more eccentric Italian. Rossi and Santilli - both now Floridians have a common heritage in more ways than one.

LOL - this is almost gallows-humor in a way. The trickster rules... or perhaps, in some dark and mysterious way, we are experiencing the legacy of the great Fermi... chi lo sa?

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