Hafnium Controversy - Chronology of Notable Events

Chronology of Notable Events

  • Around 1997 the JASONS advisory group took testimony about the triggering of nuclear isomers. The JASON Defense Advisory Group published a relevant public report saying that they concluded that such a thing would be impossible and should not be attempted. Despite intervening publications in peer-reviewed journals of articles written by an international team reporting IGE from 178m2Hf, around 2003 IDA took testimony, again from relevant scientists on matters of the credibility of reported results. Professor Carl Collins, the lead U.S. member of the team publishing the successes, did not testify.
  • Around 2003, DARPA initiated exploratory research termed stimulated isomer energy release (SIER) and public interest was aroused, at both popular levels and at professional levels.
  • The first focus of SIER was whether significant amounts of 178m2Hf could be produced at acceptable costs for possible applications. A closed panel called HIPP was charged with the task and the conclusion was yes, it could. However, a scientist on that confidential DARPA HIPP review panel "leaked" prejudicial but preliminary concerns to the press. This unsubstianted assertion set into motion the subsequent cascade of inaccurate reports about the so-called "outrageous costs" of isomer triggering.
  • Having satisfied the charge to the HIPP panel to explore the problem of production at acceptable cost, the SIER program turned to the matter of definitive confirmation of the reports of IGE from 178m2Hf. A task of TRiggering Isomer Proof (TRIP) was mandated by DARPA and assigned to a completely independent team from those reporting success previously. The "gold standard" of Hafnium-isomer triggering was set as the Rusu dissertation. The TRIP experiment required independent confirmation of the Rusu Dissertation. It was successful, but could not be published.
  • By 2006, the Collins team had published multiple papers supporting their initial observations of IGE from 178m2Hf. Reprints (available at the link) of articles that were published after 2001 describe work conducted with tunable monochromatic X-ray beams from the synchrotron light sources SPring-8 in Hyogo and SLS in Villigen.
  • By 2006 there were 2 articles that claimed to disprove possibilities for IGE from 178m2Hf and three theoretical articles written by the same individual saying why it should not be possible to occur by the particular steps the author envisioned. The first two described synchrotron experiments in which the X-rays were not monochromatic.
  • In 2007 Pereira et al. calculated a production cost of $1/J.
  • February 29, 2008 DARPA distributed some of the 150 copies of the final report of the TRIP experiment that had independently confirmed the "gold standard" of Hafnium-isomer triggering. Sustained by peer review, the 94 page report is distributed for official use only (FOUO) by the DARPA Technical Information Office, 3701 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22203 USA.
  • October 9, 2008 LLNL released the 110 page evaluation of the DARPA TRIP experiment. Quoting from page 33, "The only experiment that shows statistical significance is the coincidence experiment described in the thesis by Rusu ." However, the report summary states, page 65: "Our conclusion is that the utilization of nuclear isomers for energy storage is impractical from the points of view of nuclear structure, nuclear reactions, and of prospects for controlled energy release. We note that the cost of producing the nuclear isomer is likely to be extraordinarily high, and that the technologies that would be required to perform the task are beyond anything done before and are difficult to cost at this time."
  • In 2009 S.A. Karamian et al. published the results of a four nation team's experimental measurements at Dubna for the production of quantities of 178m2Hf by spallation at energies as low as 80 MeV. Besides significantly lowering the projected cost of production, this experimental result proved the accessibility to sources of 178m2Hf to be within the capabilities of the several idle cyclotron devices scattered around the world.

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