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The University of Utah is closer to signing legal agreements with the Los Alamos National Laboratory to collaborate on fusion research.

"It looks as though the legal hurdles have been surmounted," said James Brophy, U. vice president of research. "And the question now is when should we sign."Brophy said the fathers of the solid-state fusion discovery, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, have some experiments running they don't want to interrupt.

Earlier agreements were snagged while U. lawyers worked on the language to protect the U.'s intellectual property rights.

Brophy said he will fly to Santa Fe, N.M., on Monday evening for a cold fusion conference, and while there, discuss nuts-and-bolts of the agreement with Los Alamos officials.

Brophy said it was no big deal that a fusion critic, Kelvin Lynn, a U. alumnus and a Brookhaven National Laboratory scientist, was invited to speak at the university and then the invitation was withdrawn. Lynn is part of a team that has been unable to duplicate the fusion experiment.

Supposedly, Pons wasn't in favor of Lynn speaking and the invitation was withdrawn, but another U. department invited him. Pons has received numerous requests for researchers who want to come to campus but usually turns them down. "I can't comment on what the arrangements were or weren't, because I was not a part of it," Brophy said.