Inspired by Dr. Teller’s work, and his prophetic warning to keep people informed, a Michigan physics professor named Dr. Keeve (Kip) Siegel formed the first and only private-sector company to pursue controlled fusion research using lasers. In the early 1970s, he formed KMS Industries, with the goal of successfully achieving laser inertial fusion energy.
With private funding, on May 1, 1974, KMS carried out the world’s first successful laser-induced fusion reaction in the laboratory, using deuterium-tritium in pellets. His breakthrough was acknowledged by our Energy Department and leading scientists around the world, including France and Russia. In December 1974, Forbes Magazine published a story about KMS … and the government’s attempts to shut it down!
What? You heard me. Shut it down. Because of pressure from rabid anti-nuclear groups (and the government’s insistence this should be controlled by them, not private industry), Dr. Siegel was brought before Congress to testify on what he and his company had proven in the area of nuclear fusion power and his research. It was not the most hospitable environment – and Dr. Siegel, only 52 years old, died of a stroke, in the hearing, before he could complete his testimony before the American people.
Since that day, almost 40 years ago, our progress toward controlled fusion has slowed to a crawl. And the clock keeps ticking toward doomsday.