Israel considers building nuclear plant

IAEC: "Right now [the reactor] is just in the planning stage."

dimona reactor 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
dimona reactor 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel is considering building a nuclear power station, an official of the country's atomic energy commission confirmed Sunday. The official, Uri Bin-Nun, said the head of the Israeli Atomic Energy commission told him that the idea was under consideration - the first time the commission has said that. Nili Lishitz, spokeswoman for the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, said the idea of building a nuclear power station is 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." Israel has two nuclear reactors - ostensibly for research and scientific purposes - but is widely believed to have developed nuclear weapons at the larger of the two, in the Negev Desert. Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and its nuclear program is not under international supervision. Israel is at the forefront of an international effort to keep Iran, which has signed the NPT, from going nuclear. Iran insists its nuclear development program is for peaceful purposes, but Israel, the US and others believe its real goal is to build atomic bombs. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map. The report said the local electricity company has been promoting the idea of nuclear power for years, even allocating land in the Negev Desert for a power plant. The skyrocketing price of oil-based fuel has added impetus to the concept. The spokesman for the Israel Electricity Corporation refused to comment on the report. Israel has been converting its electricity generating plants from coal to natural gas in recent years.