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Senate Report Oks Nuclear Reactor for Israel, Egypt

A Senate report today recommended the sale of nuclear power reactors promised by the Ford Administration to Israel, Egypt and Iran “if rigorous safeguards against proliferation are accepted”. The report was by a bipartisan group of 12 Senators who visited the Middle East last November under the leadership of Abraham Ribicoff (D. Conn) and Howard Baker, Jr. (R. Tenn).

The proposed agreements with Israel and Egypt were initialed by the Ford Administration but President Carter has yet to make a final decision. The proposed agreement with Iran is still being negotiated. The Administration must submit proposed agreements to Congress for approval.

The report said that the controls on the specific items requested for export to Israel and Egypt under the agreements for cooperation are adequate. The U.S., it said, is expected to insist that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based in Vienna, manage the safeguard system.

In an “addition” to the report, Sen. John Glenn (D. Ohio) dissented on a facet regarding Israel. He noted that while the delegation “believes that ratification of the non-proliferation treaty by Israel and Egypt and the placement by Israel of its Dimona facility under IAEA safeguards would provide added reassurance” nonetheless the delegation, he said, believes it would be “counterproductive to require such measures as a precondition to the pending sales”.

Glenn contended “the failure to insist upon safeguards for the Dimona reactor as a condition to the supply of American nuclear material to Israel is bound to adversely affect our non-proliferation objectives.” He also wrote that “clearly the subject will be raised in any negotiations among parties to a Middle East settlement.”

The report said that the sales offer the U.S. an opportunity to cooperate with these countries in their energy and development programs and to advance our non-proliferation objectives”. Israel has indicated it will not allow foreigners to visit its Dimona reactor which it acquired from non-American sources with its own resources. (By Joseph Polokoff)

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