A new scanning method may be able to verify a nuclear bomb’s authenticity without revealing secrets about its design to the tester, Agence France-Presse reports.
“The goal is to prove with as high confidence as required that an object is a true nuclear warhead while learning nothing about the materials and design of the warhead itself,” Robert Goldston, a Princeton University astrophysics professor, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The technique may ultimately prove useful in carrying out monitoring activities under a strategic arms control treaty between Russia and the United States, according to AFP. It could also help to confirm any proliferation of nuclear arms to a government or nonstate actor, the wire service said.
The method — outlined in a Wednesday article in Nature — involves determining the contents of a possible bomb by counting how many neutrons from a directed energy beam can pass from one side to another, according to AFP. The findings are matched against a readout prepared in advance by the weapon’s owner, eliminating any need for the tester to view sensitive details on the bomb’s inner workings.
“This approach really is very interesting and elegant,” said Steve Fetter, an assistant head of the White House Science and Technology Policy Office. “The main question is whether it can be implemented in practice.”
An initiative to refine the method at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has received a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous branch of the Energy Department.
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."