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Israeli Health Ministry Official Says Nuclear Disaster in USSR Does Not Pose Health Problem for Isra

Dan Michaeli, Director General of the Health Ministry, said over the weekend that the nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union does not seem to pose a health problem for Israel and there is no cause for concern.

The Environmental Health Institute has been monitoring reports of radioactive fallout over Europe since the disclosure last week of an apparent meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, near Kiev in the Ukraine. But if there is little danger to Israel from fallout, there are growing doubts about the safety of nuclear power plants in general.

Israel has only one, located near Dimona in the Negev. But the country has been planning to add to its nuclear power capacity. Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin said last Friday that Israel should not jump to conclusions as a result of the Chernobyl tragedy. He said on a Voice of Israel Radio interview that the nuclear accident in the USSR is not likely to set back nuclear power in other countries.

“As for Israel, we have to judge nuclear power plants on their economic merits, to decide if we want them in order to be less dependent on oil or coal,” Rabin said.