IDF to simulate missile attack on Dimona nuclear reactor

Home Front Command, Israel Atomic Energy Commission to hold large exercise called “Fernando”; drill will simulate Hezbollah, Hamas attack.

311_dimona reactor (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
311_dimona reactor
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The IDF Home Front Command and the Israel Atomic Energy Commission will hold a large exercise on Tuesday to simulate a missile attack against the Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev.
Called “Fernando,” the drill is named for the nuclear meltdown in 1959 in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles.
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It took workers a month to regain control of the reactor and more than 50 years for the United States to clean up the contaminated site.
The drill will simulate a number of scenarios including a possible missile attack by Hezbollah, Syria or Hamas against the reactor or a possible earthquake that could destabilize the reactor’s core and spark a nuclear meltdown.

Israel has closely studied the recent crisis in Japan following the earthquakes in Fukushima that led to a nuclear meltdown at a number of reactors, to draw lessons that can be applied in the event of a missile strike on the Dimona facilities.
The last “Fernando” exercise was held in 2004. On Monday, the IAEC released a statement ahead of the drill claiming that its facilities were secure and that high-safety measures were in place to prevent nuclear disasters.
“The chance that a problem will occur and radioactive material will escape at a level that will endanger the public is extremely small,” the commission said.