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I suspect this is not a matter of nuclear physics but of solid state physics. The point is that hydrogen has an unusually high affinity for adsorption into a palladium matrix. Maybe that means deuterium can easily propagate within the palladium matrix. Quantum mechanics tells us that a particle can propagate through a pure enough crystal as if it were in empty space, so maybe once the deuterium is adsorbed into the palladium the single electron is stripped into the metal's electron gas and the resulting free deuteron forms a deuterium gas. This might increase the interaction cross-section of the deuterons with the impurity metallic nuclei, increasing the rate of the interaction (for instance)

20Ca + 2D -> 22Sc* -> 22Ti + e- - νe

(I cannot write a bar over the nu for an antineutrino so I write 'minus one neutrino' :)

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by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 12th, 2013 at 12:30:27 PM EST
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