In Oct 1989, scientists working at two U.S. national laboratories reported unequivocal, spectacular experimental data showing that neutron captures were a causative mechanism for LENRs.
At that time, certain researchers were obviously aware that neutrons were driving LENR processes: experimental data from well-respected U.S. national laboratories clearly indicated that neutron captures were occurring in materials on cathode surfaces in otherwise ordinary electrochemical cells.
Unfortunately, this unquestionably good isotopic shift data was totally ignored by the U.S. government and overwhelming majority of scientists because it violated contemporary conceptual paradigms about well-understood nuclear processes like fission and fusion. In addition, theory available at that time was unable to provide a sensible physics mechanism that could explain in situ production of neutrons in chemical cells operating at ~STP.
Experimental data reported by Rolison & O’Grady of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory at an EPRI-NSF Workshop in October 1989 was a ‘smoking gun’ for neutron capture on Palladium isotopes comprising cathodes in Pons-Fleischmann-type electrochemical cells --- exactly as predicted by the Widom-Larsen theory of LENRs published many years thereafter.
Data reported through Edward Teller of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at the same EPRI-NSF Workshop described LLNL experiments in which researchers observed significant depletion of Lithium-6 on cathodes in Pons-Fleischmann-type electrochemical cells. This result is indicative of neutron captures inside such cells and, again, exactly as predicted by Widom-Larsen today.
This important experimental data clearly implicating neutron capture processes in LENRs was lost in the intervening years following the acrimonious controversy about “cold fusion” that raged worldwide during 1989-90. New Energy Times recently obtained copies of the long-lost Proceedings of the EPRI-NSF Workshop and provided copies of report sections to Lattice for evaluation.
In retrospect, high quality experimental data conclusively demonstrating that LENRs must somehow involve ultralow energy neutrons was already available by late 1989. However, the inexplicable (prior to Widom-Larsen) absence of deadly, energetic neutron and gamma radiation when neutrons were obviously being captured on experimental materials (expected accompanying prompt capture gammas were not observed) was too much of a radical conceptual paradigm shift for most scientists.
Consequently, by 1991 an accumulating body of anomalous experimental results were simply chalked-up to misinterpretation and/or systematic experimental errors and mistakenly dismissed.