Is Avoiding ‘Nuclear’ in LENR Necessary or a Semantic Trick?

This topic has been discussed for quite a long time, but has come up again on the Journal of Nuclear Physics, and I thought it might be interesting to raise it here. If (as I believe) LENR is getting more attention around the world, and if (as I hope) it becomes recognized as a valid and useful phenomonon, what it is called will become more important.

Many people have advocated for a new label to be applied to LENR, because of the use of ‘nuclear’ in the acronym, and nuclear of course has a connotation of danger and fear for so many.

On the Journal of Nuclear Physics, a reader made the following suggestion to Andrea Rossi:

The “nuclear” word as part of the name associates the Rossi effect with all of the negative history of the nuclear bomb, nuclear radiation, nuclear power plants, etc. This immediately triggers a negative reaction to the E-CAT as a new product entry as just another “nuclear” device.

As a suggestion the E-CAT product line can still be defined without the use of the word “nuclear”. One suggestion would be to promote “Energy from Cold Atomic Transmutation” or E-CAT as the proper acronym.

Rossi at first replied, “Thanks for the semantic opinion. To be taken in consideration”, but later added a new response:

Andrea Rossi
January 16th, 2015 at 6:48 AM
Hugh DeVries:
Rethinking: my opinion is that we have not to disguise the technological bases, but we have to be sincere and explain. Then it will be the intrinsic safety of the operation to consolidate the diffusion of the product. I trust the intelligence of people, we do not need to make fancy names to hidden anything. The issue is too important to be reduced to a semantic trick.
Warm Regards,

There have been a number of suggestions for less-threatening names and labels for ‘the effect’, but it seems that LENR is the label that has stuck, and is most commonly used discussion among followers of the topic. I think Rossi’s point here is an interesting one, and I think a valid argument. It may be harmful to the cause to try and avoid the use of ‘nuclear’, if critics turn around and accuse proponents of being deceptive about what the phenomenon actually is (although there’s still no real consensus for the actual physics involved).

Anyway, I think it’s an interesting and important issue. I am still happy to use the term LENR here as it’s the common label, even though I’m still not sure what it means! If it can be demonstrated to be ‘intrinsically safe’, a LENR device in time might prove to be considered as harmless and non-controversial as microwave ovens which do produce radiation, but are designed in such a way as to make it highly unlikely that harmful radiation will escape the ovens when in use.