Nuclear Fusion

  • Winston E. Kock
Part of the Optical Physics and Engineering book series (OPEG)


When C. L. Townes, A. M. Prokhorov, and N. Basov conducted their first experiments on the physical process of stimulated emission of radiation, little did they suspect that their brainchild-to-be, the laser, might someday become the solution for the world’s energy problems. Even when, two decades later, in 1964, the importance of their experiments was given world recognition through the announcement of their Nobel Prize award, the possibility of the laser acting as the key component in a nuclear power generating plant was just an idea being speculated upon, But when one of the three, Basov (Figure 15.1), reported on some experiments in 1968 in which he used a powerful laser as a tool in attempts to achieve a controlled thermonuclear fusion reaction, scientists began to take notice. When, in 1970, the French Atomic Energy Commission made the announcement that, at their laboratory at Limeil outside of Paris, repeated laser-induced fusion reactions had indeed occurred (Figure 15.2), the bandwagon started. Today, in many laboratories, here and abroad, large laser-induced-fusion programs are underway, including nearly a dozen in the U.S. alone.


Atomic Energy Commission Fission Reactor Uranium Enrichment Fission Process Laser Fusion 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Winston E. Kock
    • 1
  1. 1.The Herman Schneider Laboratory of Basic and Applied Science ResearchUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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