PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGIES
Misleading Implications Given in Report of New Soviet Single-Laser Isotope Separation Method: Soviet laser scientists at the Institute of Spectroscopy, Krasnaya Pakhra, haveew photodissociation method for separating isotopes using lasers. Experimental details were published in Russianearlier this year. The process differs from other laser isotope separation (LIS1 methods iningle laoer is the only source of radiation used. In noting the achievement by R. V. Ambartsumyan andecent article in The New York Times stated that the method presumably would be useful for economically enriching uranium for use in weapons or reactors. The article alaoengthy discussion of the possible advantages of using lasers to enrich uranium-According to the article, reports of Ambartsumyan's success in separating boron and sulfur isotopes has caused Los Alamos scientists to release details of their own "hitherto secret" workingle-laser process for isotope separation. (The New York Times,
Comment: The casual reader may misinterpret The New York Times article andistaken impression of US and So-viet scientists' interest in trying to use the new single laser LIS method for uranium enrichment. The new methodwould not be economical for, and neither US nor USSR scientists have stated they are trying to apply it to the uranium enrichment problem. Moreover, no LIS technique has been successfully applied to enriching more than submicroscopic quanties of uranium.
The new dissociation method is based on incompletelytransitions brought aboutolecule is made to absorb many laser photons simultaneously. To accomplish this, the laser light must be fooused to extremely high intensity. Unfortunately, much laser energy is wasted, in the* process.
Although this particular LIP process may not be commercially viable for large scale uranium enrichment, ueing it to separate small amounts of other important isotopes for medical orresearch may be practical. The particular Los Alamoe experiments mentioned' in the article on separating boron, chlorine, and sulfur isotopes with the technique were never classified, contrary to the implications of The New York Times article.
-May 75Original document.