Israel considers building nuclear plant

Ben-Eliezer: Atomic energy option up for debate, but Israel far from it.

dimona reactor 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
dimona reactor 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel Electric Corporation CEO Uri Ben-Noon said on Sunday that Israel was considering building a nuclear power station to generate electricity. At an IEC conference in Ramat Gan, Ben-Noon said that Gideon Frank, director of the Atomic Energy Commission, had told him that the possibility of generating electricity from a nuclear power plant was on the agenda and was being considered. In reaction, National Infrastructures Ministry Director-General Hezi Kugler said that the issue was being debated but no decision on the issue had been made yet. Also speaking at the conference, National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer remarked that the option of generating electricity from nuclear energy was an option to be considered but he added that Israel was far away from it. Nili Lishitz, spokeswoman for the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, said the idea of building a nuclear power station was not new. "In light of Israel's energy needs it is only natural that we showed interest," she told The Associated Press. "Right now it is just in the planning stage." The National Infrastructures Ministry is in the process of increasing the national effort to add alternative energy sources. One of the efforts includes setting up a fast track for the selection of projects in advanced stages of the development of alternative energy sources, possessing commercial potential and of interest to bring in the private market players. "I met up with 24 private companies which are interested in building power plant and none of them received a negative answer," said Ben-Eliezer. Meanwhile, IEC Chairman Moshe Gavish warned at the conference that if the operating licenses of the company were not renewed by March 3 and agreements on the reform would not be reached, Israel could be "left in the dark" due to the expiration date of the company's operating license. AP contributed to this report.