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American Firm Nearing Completion of Israel Nuclear Research Reactor

August 14, 1959
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Nuclear research and the training of scientists will be greatly advanced in Israel when a research reactor facility now being built by AMF Atomics, a division of American Machine and Foundry Company, is completed by the end of the year, Morehead Patterson, AMF board chairman, announced today. The Israel reactor is being built as a part of President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program. AMF is the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of nuclear research reactors.

“The 1, 000 kilowatt reactor facility, which will be boosted to 5, 000 kilowatts in the future, situated on the sand dunes near Rishon L’Zion, will open a new phase in Israel scientific studies,” the announcement said. “The new reactor will enable nuclear scientists to study the various problems of operating atomic reactors as well as engage in a broad range of fundamental atomic structure research.

“In addition, the reactor will produce substantial quantities of isotopes which will permit Israel scientists to undertake a major program in medical, agricultural and industrial research and to study the influence of radiation on living cells and biological processes,” the announcement emphasized.

Mr. Patterson said that Israel scientists have made important progress in two main areas of nuclear research and development. “They discovered methods to extract uranium from phosphates in the course of established processes for the production of phosphate fertilizers. They have also studied the production of heavy water by high-power fractional distillation,” he stated.

Heavy water is an excellent moderator used in research reactors and in power reactors. As a by-product of this research, heavy water containing oxygen is to isotope O-18 is being produced at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot and exported as a tool for research in various fields of chemistry and biology.

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