Monday, February 07, 2000 13:24
Sunday Times: Close Dimona nuclear facility(IsraelWire-2/7) According to a Sunday Times report, quoting Professor Uzi Eben, a former senior official in Israel’s nuclear program, Eben is calling for the immediate closure of the facility which poses serious dangers and is not safe, and may lead to another Chernobyl. Eben is calling for a start of the process which would lead to the shutting of the facility at the very least. The Times quotes Israeli scientists calling for the shutting of the facility which they deem unsafe, to prevent “A second Chernobyl.” The daily Yediot Ahronot reports that experts have pointed out the Dimona facility began operating in 1960, and the nuclear plant is now approaching 40 years of operation. Yediot adds that experts report that facilities as old as Dimona are being shut around the world due to the dangers they pose to the area residents and environment. Eben, quoted by Yediot, stated that the operations at the facility have contributed to its “aging process”, adding that although it is not comparable with the Chernobyl facility prior to the meltdown, it does pose a significant threat to the area and must be shut to avert a catastrophe. Among problems, which may be encountered according to Eben, is leakage of radioactive water used to cool the facility, difficulty in controlling the facility. The Times adds that in addition to Eben, another prominent member of the scientific community who remains anonymous added his name to those calling for the shutting of the facility, explaining that the prolonged exposure of the structure to the radiation has rendered it prone to a disaster and has compromised it integrity. Atomic Energy Commission officials responded, stating the facility is maintained in accordance with the highest standards, and remains under the watchful eye of experts and is supervised by the public commission responsible for the security of Israel’s nuclear program.