More than 30 institutions have confirmed the University of Utah's cold fusion experiment but are waiting to publicly announce their findings until patent applications are filed, B. Stanley Pons said.

During the past four weeks, scientists throughout the world - eager to cash in on cold nuclear fusion - have dropped what they're doing to work nights and weekends to repeat the project.Fusion, the energy process that powers the sun, the stars and the hydrogen bomb, holds promise of becoming the ultimate energy source.

But since the March 23 announcement that Pons and Martin Fleischmann had created cold nuclear fusion in a test tube, only a handful of institutions - including Moscow University and Texas A&M - have announced confirmation.

Pons said many more have indicated they have achieved both heat and neutrons "but are not announcing their results because of patent applications," which, if approved, could ultimately mean a lot of money to the institutions.

Over the weekend the U., determined to remain the front-runner in the fusion race, filed several more patent applications "which encompass hundreds of experiments," Pons said.

Pons' U. colleagues, many of whom were intensely critical of the chemistry professor's claim, have now rallied round him. He's had meetings with faculty members from the departments of engineering, physics and chemistry.

U. metallurgists are studying the palladium rod where the fusion is said to occur, while two chemists have detailed a theory to describe the breakthrough.

"Committees are being formed to disburse research funds, govern the safety and look at various proposals from faculty seeking to do research in this area," he said. "It is not a full-fledged collaboration. But we are certainly investigating the probability or possibility of collaboration. There are people in several divisions involved."

Pons leaves Monday night for Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico to discuss the findings of scientists there. "Los Alamos will not discuss anything with me over the phone," he said.