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Israel to Start Operating Atomic Reactor This Year; Aided by U.S.

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An experimental atomic reactor is nearing completion south of Tel Aviv and is expected to be in operation by the end of this year, according to a Joint announcement of Prof. D.E. Bergman, chairman of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and William Baxter, American Charge d’Affaires in Israel.

The announcement was made during the first visit to the plant by the press. The reactor, valued at $800,000, was purchased with the help of the American Atomic Energy Commission from the American Machinery and Foundries Company. The United States made a grant of $350,000 for the purchase which was made under a 1957 agreement between the two governments based on the American Atoms for Peace plan.

The 5,000-kilowatt reactor is of the “swimming pool” type. It is situated on said dunes near Rishon le-Zion. While it cannot be used for atomic power production, its availability will open a new phase in Israel scientific studies. Scientists will be able to study various aspects of operating such reactors. The reactor also will make possible research in isotopes for medical and agricultural purposes in addition to pure research.

Israel nuclear scientists, it was pointed out, have made important progress in two main areas of reactor operation. They have discovered an inexpensive way to extract uranium from phosphates without diminishing the basic characteristics of the phosphate, and Weizmann Institute scientists have invented means of producing heavy water in a relatively inexpensive way. Quantities of such waters are already being exported to countries with which Israel cooperates in atomic energy research.

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