JERUSALEM (Jul. 8)
Two senior Israeli scientists have indicated in a report to Premier Yitzhak Rabin that the nuclear reactor the United States has offered Egypt does not constitute a menace to Israel. The scientists, Prof Yisrael Dostrovsky, special advisor to the Premier on nuclear energy, and Shalhevet Freier; director general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Committee, were asked by Rabin to study the matter after President Nixon’s offer of nuclear know-how to Egypt last month stirred alarm in Israel.
Their report will not be made public. It was learned, however, that both scientists agreed there was no short-term danger to Israel in the 600-megawatt reactor offered Egypt and that Israel could rely to a great extent on the guarantees of safeguards and surveillance promised by the Americans that the Egyptians would not use the reactor for other than peaceful purposes. The scientists conceded that the reactor would contribute greatly to Egypt’s nuclear capability but said it would have been impossible in any event to prevent such a technological development.
They rejected claims in some quarters that Egypt did not need a nuclear reactor to generate power because it possesses the Aswan High Dam and considerable oil resources. On the contrary, the scientists, said, Egypt would probably need a second reactor to meet its power needs in the 1980s. The scientists’ report supported statements last month by Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and Information Minister Aharon Yariv minimizing the danger of the reactor in Egyptian hands. Those statements had been sharply criticized at the time by opposition spokesmen.