A state panel assigned to study two researchers' claims of achieving "cold fusion" in a jar gave conditional approval today to the spending of $4.5 million in state funds for the program.
The nine-member state Fusion-Energy Advisory Council voted unanimously to release the money contingent on a final, detailed review of the University of Utah's proposed fusion budget by four executive committee members and school officials. Once that is done, probably within a week or so, the proposal will go back to the full panel membership for final approval, the council said.
On March 23, Utah chemist B. Stanley Pons and his British colleague, Martin Fleischmann, announced that they had sustained a nuclear fusion reaction without the extremely high temperatures that had long been thought to be required for such a reaction. Many physicists and chemists have concluded that the cold fusion claims are exaggerated or untrue.