The key elements are a thin wire coated with palladium and deuterium then subjected to electric and magnetic fields, and a detector consisting of a special plastic called CR-39. High energy particles create tracks in the plastic which can be analyzed to determine the type and intensity of any particles emitted. According to the Navy researchers, "The density of tracks registered by a CR-39 detector was found to be of a magnitude that provides undisputable evidence of their nuclear origin."
Experimenters still must be careful to shield the apparatus from other sources of radiation, but it's still the simplest way to verify the cold fusion reaction is real. And, according to the Wikipedia article on Cold Fusion, at least two other teams have reported similar results to the Navy researchers:
In 2006, Mosier-Boss and Szpak, researchers in the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego, developed a new experimental technique, a key feature of which is the electroplating of probes to a set ratio of palladium and deutrium. These experiments have produced evidence of high-energy nuclear reactions concentrated near the probe surface. Based on this work, two other teams have reported similar findings at the American Physical Society meeting of March 2007 (sessions A31 and B31) although interpretations vary.It may never become anything commercially exploitable, but it's worth investigating it because of the enormous potential benefits.