Israel has started planning construction of a new nuclear reactor, an Israeli official said Wednesday.
The nuclear plant, "for generating electric power," is to be built in southern Israel, said Avi Lerner, spokesman for the Infrastructure Ministry.
Nearby, next to the city of Dimona, is an existing nuclear reactor. Lerner said the new reactor, to be completed by 2020, would be for "civilian purposes."
Israel has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, because it objects to international inspection of the Dimona plant.
Lerner said the first step toward building a new reactor will be a study of the financial and safety aspects of the project. If the results are favorable, construction on the facility would commence in 2010. Yediot Ahronot daily said the reactor would cost US$2 billion to build.
Infrastructure Minister Effi Eitam confirmed the report, saying, “Building a nuclear power plant will significantly upgrade Israel’s ability to guarantee an independent supply of electric power.” (Albawaba.com)