Fusion research started over half a century ago. Although the task remains unfinished, the end of the road could be in sight if society makes the right decisions. Nuclear Fusion: Half a Century of Magnetic Confinement Fusion Research is a careful, scholarly account of the course of fusion energy research over the past fifty years. The authors outline the different paths followed by fusion research from initial ignorance to present understanding. They explore why a particular scheme would not work and why it was more profitable to concentrate on the mainstream tokamak development. The book features descriptive sections, in-depth explanations of certain physical and technical issues, scientific terms, and an extensive glossary that explains relevant abbreviations and acronyms.
Table of Contents
The Road to Geneva
Pulsed Toroidal Systems and Alternative Lines
Stellarators vs. Tokamaks
The Dash to Tokamaks
The Next Generation
The Era of the Big Tokomaks
Towards a Fusion Reactor
"Braams and Stott write with both a first hand experience of the history of the field and an intimate knowledge of the science… . This broader perspective is both fascinating and essential to our maturing discipline so I warmly recommend this book to all readers of Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion."
-I.H. Hutchinson, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, No. 44
"This work is recommended both for public and university libraries. It is of particular interest to scientists and engineers interested in history of science as well as those interested in the production of new sources of energy."
-Nestor Osorio, E-STREAMS, Vol. 6, No. 2
"After introductory chapters outlining the overall path and some of the problems of fusion research, Braams and Stott cover open systems and pulsed closed systems with a chapter each. They then devote about half the book to research on confining the plasma with closed steady-state magnetic surfaces, especially in the stellarator and the tokamak, a toriodal system originally proposed by A.D. Sakharov and I.E. Tamm in 1951.
…they more than touch on social, economic, and political factors while emphasizing the physics in a valuable one-volume account of the course of fusion research, sprinkled with memorable quotes from outstanding characters in the field. They trace the gradual merging in the late 1970's of physics-oriented research on plasma phenomena and performance-oriented research toward reactor design - what they call reductionistic and holistic approaches - into the physics of reactor-grade plasmas in reactor-like devices.
Braams and Stott begin and end with the enigmatic quotation from Artsimovich of 1972: 'Fusion will be there when society needs it.' They also pose the question 'Is a fusion reactor an interesting proposition from a scientific, technical, social, and economic point of view?' Evidently, they conclude it is scientifically and technically feasible and it seems desirable but it will be costly to achieve.
If commercial exploitation is realized in the projected time, Braams and Stott (like many of us) will not be here to see it; but they have compiled an excellent account of the principles, background, development, and progress made during the first half of the world-wide fusion research program."
-Derry W. Jones, Contemporary Physics, 2003, vol. 44, no. 5, pp.455-458