Dimona nuclear reactor.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A professional delegation from the safety and security branch of the
International Atomic Energy Agency visited Israel this week to survey the degree
of safety compliance at the Sorek Nuclear Research Center.
included IAEA safety specialists, as well as international experts from five
The initiative for the visit came from Israel’s Atomic Energy
Commission as part of an IAEA-led global effort to draw conclusions, in the
aftermath of the nuclear reactor accident that occurred in Fukushima, Japan, in
However, the delegation was not allowed to visit the Dimona
nuclear reactor, as Israel refuses to allow it to be placed under international
According to foreign reports, Israel’s Dimona reactor
produces fissile materials – uranium and plutonium – that can be used for
nuclear weapons. The IAEA conducts surveys worldwide to assess compliance with
its safety standards for nations that request it to do so.
released by the Commission said that the IAEA delegation commended Israel’s
strengthening of national licensing system and its independence, along with
Israel’s efforts to maintain a high level of nuclear safety. The statement added
that the delegation pointed out many positives during its visit and gave the
Commission advice on possible improvements to the safety standards.
head of the IAEA Delegation, Mr. James Lyons, said: “The decision to invite the
delegation demonstrates Israel’s strong commitment to constant improvement in
the field of nuclear safety.”
Israel devotes substantial resources for
maintaining and improving nuclear safety. As such, in February 2011 the
government approved granting autonomous status to the unit that deals with
licensing and nuclear safety.
Israel cooperates with a number of leading
countries in the field of nuclear safety, and Israeli experts participate in the
IAEA safety committees, which determine international standards for nuclear
safety. Israel even conducts regular exercises to improve its preparedness for
the possibility of a nuclear mishap.
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