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FOTV Cold Fusion Activated

Cold fusion reactor activated at Griffith Observatory.

Cold fusion is a nuclear reaction occurring at or near room temperatures, allowing for nearly limitless power generation. Although nuclear fusion became a viable energy source in the wake of power armor research, cold fusion remained elusive. Attempts to achieve it consistently failed, leading to cold fusion being called a pipe dream by the Institute and Madison Li - especially attempts to achieve it through electrochemical means.[1]


FOTV Miss Williams

Lee Moldaver before the Great War

Before the Great War, a scientist named Lee Moldaver claimed she achieved the impossible, almost reaching a breakthrough that would provide infinite energy for the United States and remove the economic driver of the Sino-American War and the greater Resource Wars. However, before she could publicize her technology, Vault-Tec (whose business model thrived on the instability of the conflict) bought up every company she worked for in order to prevent a peaceful resolution to the war, keep the current economic system intact, and use the technology for its own ends.[2] Turned into a proprietary technology inaccessible outside Vault-Tec, cold fusion would be used to power its Garden of Eden Creation Kit, making it an incredibly sought-after piece of equipment.[Non-game 1]

FOTV Official Trailer Still 097

Siggi Wilzig inserting the cold fusion device behind his ear

The Enclave retained data necessary to replicate and use the technology after the Great War. Siggi Wilzig, contacted by Lee Moldaver (who had survived until 2296 through presently unknown means), decided to defect and bring the technology with him. He implanted the catalyst behind his right ear, but was discovered by an Enclave administrator, which forced him to flee. Wounded during the manhunt, Wilzig committed suicide and entrusted the head carrying the catalyst to Lucy MacLean.[3]

To unlock the technology, Moldaver raided Vault 33 and captured Hank MacLean, a pre-War executive thawed from Vault 31 to act as overseer of 33, as she required his personal access code to unlock the catalyst.[4] This gambit succeeded, and Moldaver was able to activate the cold fusion reactor installed at Griffith Observatory and provide effectively infinite power, lighting up the Boneyard. However, Moldaver and her troops were wiped out, with the Brotherhood of Steel claiming the technology.[5]

Mode of operation[]

Cold fusion relies on a catalyst the size of a grain of rice, which catalyzes the cold fusion reaction, using Maxwell's law and quantum tunneling principles[6] to sidestep the energy requirements of conventional nuclear fusion. The process involves electrolysis inside a water bath and a joule heater, producing vast amounts of energy with comparatively minimal input.[7]

The process was enough to power the entirety of the Los Angeles Boneyard within moments of its activation.[4]

Behind the scenes[]

  • Currently, cold fusion is considered impossible using electrolysis, as there is no theoretical model under which it would be possible and the very concept of cold fusion itself has been discredited by some physicists as a pseudoscience[8]. On the other hand, while most references to cold fusion refer to the 1989 attempts since dismissed as impossible to replicate, a separate research paper in 1956 postulated the possibility of muon-catalyzed fusion. However, the issue was that the creation of muons required far greater amounts of power than the process would output, making it infeasible as a source of power. The Fallout cold fusion appears to combine elements of both with real-world physics (eg. those used in modern attempts to achieve sustainable nuclear fusion).
  • Moldaver's invention being bought and hidden by Vault-Tec in order to maintain its war profiteering is remarkably similar to various "free energy" conspiracy theories that claim infinite, no-cost energy sources exist (typically cold fusion), but have been suppressed by the "Powers That Be" to ensure that their wealth and power would not be threaten.



  1. Institute Advanced Systems terminal entries; terminal, Cold Fusion
  2. Cooper Howard: "How do you know my wife?"
    Lee Moldaver: "My research company was acquired by her division. We were developing this kind of technology that's... difficult to monetize. Cold fusion. Infinite energy. That's what I was on the verge of achieving when Vault-Tec swept in and bought up every company I'd ever worked for."
    Cooper Howard: "Every one of them? So, what are you, a millionaire communist?"
    Lee Moldaver: "Hypocrisy is like violence in your movies. If you only let the bad guys use it, the bad guys win."
    Cooper Howard: "Yeah? I, uh, I got a little showbiz secret for you. A good bad guy doesn't see themselves as the bad guy."
    Lee Moldaver: "America has been locked in a resource war for over a decade. Vault-Tec bought the means to end that war, the same war you fought in, so they could put it on the shelf. All because it didn't fit into their business model."
    (The Radio)
  3. Fallout TV series, Season 1, Episode 2: "The Target"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lee Moldaver: "What you brought me is cold fusion. It's limitless energy. And we can build our own world. It could be a better world. It has clean water and medicine and power. But for everyone. Because when Vault-Tec bought my research they made it proprietary, so only a trusted Vault-Tec minion can activate cold fusion. All I need is for him to give me the code."
    (The Beginning)
  5. Fallout TV series, Season 1, Episode 8: "The Beginning"
  6. Wilzig's equations
  7. Status screen mentioning cathodes and anodes.
  8. https://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i44/Cold-fusion-died-25-years.html