Ex-Los Alamos scientist to be sentenced in nuke spy sting via Washington Times

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist who pleaded guilty to trying to helpVenezuela develop a nuclear weapon is set to be sentenced.

Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, pleaded guilty in 2013 to offering to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela through dealings with an undercover FBI agent posing as a representative of the socialist South American country.


The scientist said he approached Venezuela after the United States rejected his theories that a hydrogen-fluoride laser could produce nuclear energy.

According to a 22-count indictment, Mascheroni told the undercover agent that he could help Venezuela develop a nuclear bomb within 10 years and that the South American country would use a secret, underground nuclear reactor to produce and enrich plutonium as well as an open, aboveground reactor to produce nuclear energy.

Mascheroni worked in the nuclear weapons design division at the Los Alamos lab from 1979 until he was laid off in 1988. His wife, a technical writer, worked there between 1981 and 2010.

He told AP that he was motivated by his belief in cleaner, less expensive and more reliable nuclear weapons and power. He began approaching other countries after his ideas were rejected by the lab and, later, congressional staffers.

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