Propose Building Joint Israeli-egyptian Nuclear Reactor in Sinai

A member of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission proposed today the construction of a joint Israeli-Egyptian nuclear reactor in Sinai that would be linked to a desalination plant producing sweet water to irrigate that arid region. Prof. Shimon Yiftah, addressing the National Committee on Atomic Energy at the Haifa Technion, also discussed other measures he said Israel should take to place itself in the ranks of countries utilizing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Disappointment was expressed at the meeting over the U.S. delay in supplying Israel with the nuclear reactor promised by former President Nixon when he visited the Middle East in the spring of 1974. Nixon made the same promise to Egypt. The assembled nuclear scientists noted that 42 countries already have nuclear energy facilities.

Yiftah proposed a five-point program. He said that Israel had to find out first if the U.S. intended to supply a reactor. If not, Israel should try to obtain one from other sources such as West Germany, Italy or Japan. Israel should also study the possibility of building its own reactor. It should start to accumulate uranium and possibly produce it from phosphates which are plentiful in the Dead Sea.

Yiftah said Israel should study the possibility of building an Israeli-Egyptian nuclear center in Sinai. According to him, such a project would become a model in the cultivation of desert flora, would set an example of regional cooperation and would ease the hesitation over supplying nuclear reactors to single countries.