Indictment Against Physicist is Highly Enriched

09.24.10 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The indictment of former Los Alamos physicist Leo Mascheroni and his wife Marjorie Mascheroni on charges of attempting to sell classified nuclear weapons information to a foreign government includes a garbled account of nuclear weapons technology, potentially casting doubt on the credibility of the allegations against the couple, the New York Times disclosed.

In the indictment (at p. 8), Mascheroni supposedly described “a secret underground nuclear reactor for… enriching plutonium.”  But this makes no sense, since plutonium is not and cannot be enriched in a nuclear reactor.  The misstatement or misunderstanding of this matter enhances the possibility that other parts of the indictment are equally questionable.

The error in the indictment was reported in “Lawyers Look to Exploit a Scientific Error” by William J. Broad, New York Times, September 24.