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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Israel's nuclear plant

The JPost is reporting that Greenpeace held a press conference today to campaign against the 'dangers' of Israel's nuclear plant in Dimona.
A heavy water plant producing plutonium or tritium, facilities for reprocessing plutonium and uranium for the production of nuclear fuel, and facilities both for enriching uranium and for storing uranium waste, were all found at the campus for nuclear research in Dimona, according to a report released by the organization.


The Greenpeace report revealed existing faculties in Turkey, Israel and Iran and exposed a number of possible scenarios of a disaster at the Dimona plant.

According to the report, the most realistic causes of a disaster would be an accident at the heavy water plant and a leak of nuclear waste from the facility.

Similarly the report outlined radiological and chemical risks and maintained that the long life of the plant raised concerns.
From a later version of the same article:
An earthquake or an attack at the Nahal Sorek research reactor, located 30 km. from Tel Aviv, could have disastrous consequences, according to the report.

And a meltdown at the Dimona facility could increase cancer rates in an area up to 400 kilometers in radius, reaching Cyprus, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, it says.

"A reactor accident or leakage of nuclear waste from the facilities appears the most likely scenario," the report reads. "The consequences of an incident involving an explosion large enough to disperse plutonium from either the reactor or the reprocessing facility would be the most serious type of accident that could occur."

Nearby Yavne and the entire Tel Aviv area could face dire consequence from a release of radioisotopes being produced in the Nahal Sorek reactor, which has been in operation since 1960.
"People would be required to shelter within their homes, and possibly even be evacuated from an area several kilometers from the plant. Large-scale provision of potassium iodate (potassium-iodine) tablets to limit some of the long term impacts would also be required," the report says.

Finally, the report says Haifa's residents are at risk from an Israel Navy base whose submarines are capable of firing cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads. "The main hazard, apart from the actual use of a nuclear weapons, would be from maintenance or from an accident while the submarine was on patrol, if it were to be carrying nuclear-tipped cruise missiles," the report says.

"Plutonium burns easily and could create a toxic radioactive plume of plutonium particles contaminating a wide area downwind, a long-term environmental risk which can ultimately affect human populations."
Of course, an Iranian nuke shot at us would likely have worse consequences. And given that the Iranian nuke is likely a greater possibility, I would not want our government to give up our nukes. Assuming we have them of course. :-)

As far as I am concerned, the fact that Israel has (probably) had nukes for more than forty years and has never used them is the best guarantee that they will not be used rashly. Besides, this country is a democracy and democracies don't go around threatening the world.

The 'guided tour' of Israel's nuclear plant appeared on Channel 10 last year. It was based on pictures taken by Mordechai Vanunu and it's pretty interesting to watch. I had not seen it before I found a link to the video below, and I trust many of you have not seen it either. Enjoy!


At 5:56 AM, Blogger Michael Travis said...

Come to think of it, it certainly is odd that our research facilities have been operational for so many years, without a disaster. It is almost as if someone is watching over us, protecting our people.

Chag sameach,


At 7:51 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Someone is.... Otherwise, this country would have been finished a LONG time ago....

Chag Sameyach to you too!


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