Cold Fusion Is Hot Again

60 Minutes: Once Considered Junk Science, Cold Fusion Gets A Second Look By Researchers


With so many open questions, 60 Minutes wanted to find out whether cold fusion is more than a tempest in a teapot. So 60 Minutes turned to an independent scientist, Rob Duncan, vice chancellor of research at the University of Missouri and an expert in measuring energy.

"When we first called you and said 'We'd like you to look into cold fusion for 60 Minutes,' what did you think when you hung up the phone?" Pelley asked Duncan.

"I think my first reaction was something like, 'Well, hasn't that been debunked?'" he replied.

We asked Duncan to go with 60 Minutes to Israel, where a lab called Energetics Technologies has reported some of the biggest energy gains yet.

Duncan spent two days examining cold fusion experiments and investigating whether the measurements were accurate.

Asked what he thought when he left the Israeli lab, Duncan told Pelley, "I thought, 'Wow. They've done something very interesting here.'"

He crunched the numbers himself and searched for an explanation other than a nuclear effect. "I found that the work done was carefully done, and that the excess heat, as I see it now, is quite real," Duncan said.

Asked if was surprised that he'd hear himself saying that, Duncan told Pelley, "Very much. I never thought I'd say that."

And we've found that the Pentagon is saying it too. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, did its own analysis and 60 Minutes obtained an internal memo that concludes there is "no doubt that anomalous excess heat is produced in these experiments."

Asked if he feels vindicated after all these years, McKubre told Pelley with a smile, "I don't have any real need for vindication. I know what I've seen."

"That was a pretty big smile on your face though," Pelley pointed out.

"It's good. It's not bad. Certainly it's good," McKubre replied.

Now the Pentagon is funding more experiments at the naval research lab in Washington, D.C. and at McKubre's lab in California.