Dimona nuclear reactor.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A study conducted by the Washington- based Institute for Science and International Security estimated that Israel had 115 nuclear bombs in its possession in 2014.
The study, which was conducted by the institute’s founder David Albright as part of a more comprehensive evaluation of the worldwide inventory of plutonium, approximated that Israel produced plutonium at a rapid pace in the past 50 years since the inception of its nuclear reactor in Dimona, acquiring 660 kilograms of plutonium, taking into account an estimation error of 150 kilograms.
A single nuclear bomb requires three-to-five kg. of plutonium, the study estimated.
Albright’s assessment of Israel’s nuclear bomb inventory differed from previous studies.
Those based on the revelations of Mordechai Vanunu, the former technician at the Dimona nuclear plant who was imprisoned for 18 years for divulging secrets related to Israel’s purported nuclear weapons program, stood at 200. A study by Sweden’s Peace Institute estimated the count at 80 bombs.
Albright’s study reiterated previous suspicions that Israel’s nuclear weapons are produced in the vicinity of Haifa, and also delved into the myriad of nuclear-weapon delivery vehicles at the country’s disposal.
Israel developed the Jericho-ballistic missile, according to Albright, along with nuclear-capable cruise missiles and an aircraft that can deliver nuclear weapons. It also may have the technology to launch missiles from submarines, Albright reported.
According to the study, Israel also has the advanced know how to miniaturize nuclear warheads and fit them on missiles.