The Commissioner of Mining at the Energy and Water Ministry granted the first permit for radioactive uranium exploration in Israel to Gulliver Energy Company, a firm chaired by former Mossad director Meir Dagan.

The one-year permit will allow for exploration in an area of 489.2 hectares (1,209 acres) in the Negev desert between Arad and Sdom, next to Hatrurim Junction, the Herzliya-based company said on Tuesday.

As this is the first time that such an exploration will ever occur in Israel, the company reported that it plans to consult experts from abroad and to import equipment and instruments for the program.

During the Maya 357 oil explorations that were being conducted in the Hatrurim area, researchers found signs of a high presence of radioactive metals in the region, the company said. Gulliver Energy happens to be a controlling shareholder of Zerach Oil, the firm that was performing the oil drilling, and has signed an agreement with Zerach granting it the right to search, mine for and produce radioactive metals from the area, including uranium.

In return for that right, Gulliver will be paying a royalty rate to Zerach of 12.5 percent, the company said.

Gulliver’s permit will allow the company to perform chemical analyses of radioactive samples from the Maya 357 area and if necessary, to expand existing drilling. By the end of its permit, the company said it will submit a report summarizing its results and including recommendations for future activity.

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