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Israeli Firm Considering Bids from 3 Major U.S. Firms to Construct Nuclear Power Plant in Israel

The Israel Electric Corp, is considering bids from three major American corporations to construct a nuclear power plant in Israel to be completed in 8-10 years, it was announced here today. The project, reportedly budgeted at $500 million, was bid on by the Westinghouse Corp., General Electric and Babcock & Wilcox all leading manufacturers of power generating equipment and experienced in the nuclear field.

Details of the bids, submitted last week, were not disclosed. One condition, however, is that the company selected must make the maximum use of parts and equipment manufactured in Israel in constructing the nuclear plant. It would have an output of between 600-800 megawatts. Israel’s total electric power output at present is 2000 megawatts, produced entirely by fossil-fuel plants.

The decision to build a nuclear plant represents an effort to reduce Israel’s dependence on oil or coal for power, all of which must be imported, and to keep pace with the country’s expected industrial development, Nevertheless, a string of new fossil-fuel plants is planned for the next decade, including one of 1400 megawatt capacity that would utilize both coal and oil.

UNDER STUDY FOR A LONG TIME

The nuclear project has been under study for a considerable time by the Israel Electric Corp., an 89 percent government-owned company which produces all of the nation’s electric power. The IEC engaged the American firm of Sergeant & Landy as consultants and decided to adopt the American system of enriched uranium fuel rather than the Canadian heavy water process.

The location of the nuclear plant is under study with a site near Nitzanim, south of Ashdod, one of the possibilities. The Nitzanim site was selected for a joint American-Israeli nuclear water desalination and power plant proposed during the administration of President Johnson. Minister of Commerce and Industry Haim Barlev who visited the U.S. this month, inspected an American nuclear power station and reportedly said he was favorably impressed with the American system.

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