Could the problem be that we still do not have a proper theory of nuclear interactions? QCD as a theory of nuclear interactions did not help to understand nuclear physics. Nuclear physics degenerates to a jungle of potential models and of their quantum field theory versions each of them explaining some aspect of experimenal findings but nothing more. There is even a "complementarity" principle saying that this Babel of models is quite OK!
Despite the situation the reductionistic dogma requires pretending that nuclear physics is a closed chapter in physics.
Particle physics was decided to be the next big step in the reductionistic march towards Planck scale and we started to pretend that M-theory was the last giant step in the march. Now it has become clear that we have ended up to a dead end and should return to where we started. Not only to standard model and sixties, not even fourties when nuclear physics emerged, but even back to the beginning of previous century and ask what went wrong at the level of basic philosophy.
Challenging of reductionism is necessary in order to make progress. For instance, nuclear physics has large number of anomalies. One such anomaly is 10 years old. From solar seismology the abundances of isotopes inside Sun are different from those outside Sun deduced from solar spectroscopy and meteorites. "Cold fusion" is second such anomaly and experimentalists are developing new technology while theoreticians refuse to know anything about LENR (low energy nuclear reactions).
I have myself continued for more than four decades lonely work with TGD forcing also a new view about nuclear physics. Ironically, nuclei would consist of string like objects, nuclear strings in TGD Universe (see this). To deepen the irony, string like entities - actually 4-D objects, appear in all lengh scales. The predicted hierarchy of phases of ordinary matter with non-standard value of Planck constant leads to a prediction of dark variants of nuclei with much smaller binding energies than ordinary nuclei and decaying to ordinary nuclei and liberating ordinart nuclear binding energy in the process.
TGD explains "cold fusion" as outcome of the fusion of protons to dark nuclei decayig to ordinary nuclei (see this). This mechanism is also the mechanism of ordinary nuclear fusion. The tunnellig phenomenon essential in the standard model of nuclear fusion is replaced with the formation of dark nuclei as intermediate states. The higher abundances of isotopes in solar core would be due to the presence of dark variants of nuclei (see this).
I dare to guess that a real understanding of theoretical nuclear physics could lead to a real progress in fusion research. But this depends on colleagues in the academic hegenomy: they decide. When they are finally mature to admit that TGD might be it and stop the censorship? This will be painful but there is no other manner to proceed.
For a summary of earlier postings see Latest progress in TGD.