The Energy of the Universe

2nd Edition - April 9, 2012

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  • Authors: Garry McCracken, Peter Stott
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780123846563
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123846570

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Fusion: The Energy of the Universe, 2e is an essential reference providing basic principles of fusion energy from its history to the issues and realities progressing from the present day energy crisis. The book provides detailed developments and applications for researchers entering the field of fusion energy research. This second edition includes the latest results from the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory at Livermore, CA, and the progress on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) tokamak programme at Caderache, France.

Key Features

  • Comprehensive coverage— basic principles, detailed developments and practical applications
  • Wide accessibility, but with sufficient detail to keep the technical reader engaged
  • Details the initial discovery of nuclear fusion, current attempts to create nuclear fusion here on earth and today's concern over future energy supply
  • Color illustrations and examples
  • Includes technical notes for aspiring physicists


Researchers and graduate students in the fusion area—inertial fusion and magnetic fusion, and high energy density science, and aerospace; scientists; physicists; electrical and nuclear engineer; chemists. industrial engineers

Table of Contents

  • Dedication

    Technical Summaries

    Foreword to the Second Edition

    Foreword to the First Edition



    Chapter 1. What Is Nuclear Fusion?

    1.1 The Alchemists’ Dream

    1.2 The Sun’s Energy

    1.3 Can We Use Fusion Energy?

    1.4 Man-Made Suns

    1.5 The Rest of the Story

    Chapter 2. Energy from Mass

    2.1 Einstein’s Theory

    2.2 Building Blocks

    2.3 Something Missing

    Chapter 3. Fusion in the Sun and Stars

    3.1 The Source of the Sun’s Energy

    3.2 The Solar Furnace

    3.3 Gravitational Confinement

    3.4 The Formation of Heavier Atoms

    3.5 Stars and Supernovae

    Chapter 4. Man-Made Fusion

    4.1 Down to Earth

    4.2 Getting It Together

    4.3 Breaking Even

    Chapter 5. Magnetic Confinement

    5.1 The First Experiments

    5.2 Behind Closed Doors

    5.3 Opening the Doors

    5.4 ZETA

    5.5 From Geneva to Novosibirsk

    Chapter 6. The Hydrogen Bomb

    6.1 The Background

    6.2 The Problems

    6.3 Beyond the “Sloyka”

    6.4 Peaceful Uses?

    Chapter 7. Inertial-Confinement Fusion

    7.1 Mini-Explosions

    7.2 Using Lasers

    7.3 Alternative Drivers

    7.4 The Future Program

    Chapter 8. False Trails

    8.1 Fusion in a Test Tube?

    8.2 Bubble Fusion

    8.3 Fusion with Mesons

    Chapter 9. Tokamaks

    9.1 The Basics

    9.2 Instabilities

    9.3 Diagnosing the Plasma

    9.4 Impurities

    9.5 Heating the Plasma

    Chapter 10. From T3 to ITER

    10.1 The Big Tokamaks

    10.2 Pushing to Peak Performance

    10.3 Tritium Operation

    10.4 Scaling to a Power Plant

    10.5 The Next Step

    10.6 Continuing Research

    10.7 Variations on the Tokamak Theme

    10.8 Stellarators Revisited

    Chapter 11. ITER

    11.1 Historical Background

    11.2 The Construction Phase Begins

    11.3 Overview of the ITER Tokamak

    11.4 The Construction Schedule

    Chapter 12. Large Inertial-Confinement Systems

    12.1 Driver Energy

    12.2 The National Ignition Facility

    12.3 Laser Mégajoule (LMJ)

    12.4 OMEGA and OMEGA EP

    12.5 FIREX

    12.6 HiPER

    12.7 Future Steps

    Chapter 13. Fusion Power Plants

    13.1 Early Plans

    13.2 Fusion Power-Plant Geometry

    13.3 Radiation Damage and Shielding

    13.4 Low-Activation Materials

    13.5 Magnetic-Confinement Fusion

    13.6 Conceptual Power-Plant Studies and DEMO

    13.7 Inertial-Confinement Fusion

    13.8 A Demonstration ICF Power Plant—LIFE

    13.9 Tritium Breeding

    Chapter 14. Why We Will Need Fusion Energy

    14.1 World Energy Needs

    14.2 The Choice of Fuels

    14.3 The Environmental Impact of Fusion Energy

    14.4 The Cost of Fusion Energy


    Scientific Notation



    Further Reading


Product details

  • No. of pages: 248
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2012
  • Published: April 9, 2012
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780123846563
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123846570

About the Authors

Garry McCracken

Garry McCracken gained a PhD in solid state physics but has spent most of his working life as an experimental physicist working on various aspects of the magnetic confinement fusion program with the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Culham Laboratory. His main interest has been in the study of the plasma boundary and in the interaction between the plasma and the surrounding structures and in studying the design of fusion reactors and the radiation damage problems which may be encountered. In 1979 he spent a year at the Plasma Physics Laboratory of Princeton University, USA, where he worked on the Princeton Large Tokamak.

When the JET Joint Undertaking was set up as a European Fusion Laboratory to build the JET experiment he led a Task Agreement on the plasma boundary physics. His group built and installed major diagnostics on JET and an active experimental programme was pursued. In 1993 he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and worked on the C-Mod tokamak in the Plasma Fusion Center. Returning to the UK in 1996 to work again on JET, until his retirement in 1999.

He has published over 300 scientific papers including three major reviews in the general area of plasma-surface interactions. He was a regular lecturer at the Culham Plasma Physics Summer School until 1991 and has been invited to lecture at a number of other Summer school courses in Canada and Europe. During these latter lectures he began to feel that there was no adequate book to explain the subject of nuclear fusion to the staring physicist and engineer or the interested layman and set about writing the present book.

Affiliations and Expertise

UK Atomic Energy Authority, Culham Laboratory, Oxfordshire, UK

Peter Stott

Peter Stott became interested in fusion energy whilst still an undergraduate student in 1962 and did his PhD in theoretical and experimental plasma physics working between Manchester University and the Harwell and Culham Laboratories. He joined the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Culham Laboratory in 1966 and has spent his professional career as an experimental physicist working on magnetic confinement fusion.

After several years working on lower temperature plasma experiments, he moved into tokamak research in 1970. In 1973-5 he spent 18 months at the Plasma Physics Laboratory of Princeton University, USA working on the ATC tokamak. He has pursued a wide range of interests in the tokamak field including: the first applications of neutral beam injection heating, development of the control of impurities by gettering and by divertors, plasma boundary physics, plasma confinement and plasma diagnostics.

In 1979 he joined the JET Joint Undertaking to take charge of the design and construction of the plasma diagnostics systems and from 1982 to 1999 he was Head of JET’s Experimental Division 1. From 1989 to 1999 he was coordinator for the European contribution to the design of diagnostics for the ITER project and was a member of the International Advisory Group. He left JET in 1999 to move to the Département des Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Cadarache, France.

He has published over 200 scientific papers and has edited six books on plasma diagnostics and co-authored two on fusion energy. He has a keen interest in scientific publishing: being Honorary Editor of the journal Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion from 1991 to 2000 and a member of its International Advisory Panel since 2000; a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Nuclear Fusion from 1987 to 1994; and Series Editor of the Institute of Physics Series of Books in Plasma Physics since 1995. He has been Director of the regular series of Courses and Workshops in Plasma Diagnostics.

Affiliations and Expertise

Département des Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Cadarache, France

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