WASHINGTON (Jun. 28)
Engineers on the staff of the United States Atomic Energy Commission have inspected Israel’s atomic reactor, at Dimona, for the third time in as many years, and found “tentatively” that the plant is not being used for producing atomic weapons, it was disclosed here.
The latest inspection, like those conducted in 1964 and 1965, were called officially only “visits,” because Israel refuses to allow any foreign power to inspect its atomic installation officially. However, to prove to Washington that it is not using the Dimona plant for making an atomic bomb, it has permitted “visits.”
The “tentative” nature of the AEC conclusions is due to the fact that an inspection once a year is said to be inconclusive. Israel’s facility at Dimona is a 24,000-kilo-watt plant, of the natural uranium, heavy-water moderated type, particularly suited for the production of plutonium. While Israel has always insisted that it is using the Dimona facility for peaceful purposes only, the reactor is said to be capable of producing enough material for two relatively small atomic bombs every year.