Tuesday Jun 21, 201105:24 PM GMT
'Israel returns nuclear waste to US'
Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:22PM
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A view of Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor
Head of Israel's Nuclear Energy Commission Shaul Horev says Tel Aviv has returned nuclear waste from its Sorek nuclear reactor to the United States.


Horev, who spoke at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ministerial conference on nuclear safety in Vienna on Monday, did not specify the exact amount of waste, Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported.

According to estimates, Israel has sent back at least dozens of kilograms, probably more, of 93-percent enriched uranium.

The operation took place after Israel's Nuclear Energy Commission and the US Department of Energy signed an agreement for the return of the nuclear waste over a year and a half ago.

Following the agreement, an American ship collected nuclear waste from both Israel and Turkey.

The Sorek research reactor is a small five megawatt facility that was donated to Israel by the US within the framework of former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program.

Israel also received 93-percent enriched uranium to fuel the reactor. The reactor has remained under IAEA supervision for years.

The agreement with the US does not apply to the Dimona nuclear reactor, where international sources believe Israel produces fissile material from uranium and makes plutonium for stockpile of nuclear weapons, and waste from Dimona is not being returned to the US.

Horev also said that the reactor at Dimona is 12 kilometers (8 miles) from the nearest town, a satisfactory distance in the event of a radioactive leak.

HSN/AGB/AKM/MGH
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