Thursday, September 23, 2010

(NEWS) Israel To Build Nuclear History Museum

"A bit of the veil of secrecy surrounding the Negev Nuclear Research Center (NNRC) in the southern Israeli desert will soon be pulled aside following a decision to build a nuclear museum, the Israel's largest daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported Sunday.

Ever since the NNRC became active in the early 1960s, official Israeli policy has been keeping silent on the goings-on inside the complex.

The NNRC, located about 13 kilometers south-east of the city of Dimona, is widely assumed to be manufacturing nuclear weapons, including processing depleted uranium for armor-piercing shells. Israel acknowledges the existence of the site, but refuses to either confirm or deny its alleged purpose in a policy known as nuclear ambiguity.

Participants in the project include the Israeli Ministry of Education, the NNRC, Beer Sheba's Ben-Gurion University, and a private fund.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, who directed the Israeli Defense Ministry in the mid-1950s and played a critical role in the NNRC's founding, reportedly endorses the project.

'Israel has no atomic weapons and will not be the first to introduce them into our region,' Peres told U.S. President John F. Kennedy in April 1963, in an oft-quoted statement, part of an opaque nuclear policy that has remained in forces in the decades since.

According to the report, the new museum is slated to be inaugurated in the southern city of Beer Sheba in early 2012 at a cost of 3 million Israeli shekels (about 800,000 U.S. dollars).

Visitors to the museum, which is planned to highlight a science educational park, will get no insight on Israel's alleged nuclear military might.

Instead, 'the science park will constitute an important educational, scientific, cultural and tourist attraction, according to Beer Sheba Mayor Rubik Danilovitch. 'It will be a unique park which will create Israel's future scientists by encouraging their curiosity and inspiring them,' he said.

Museum-goers will get a dose of the history of nuclear research, nuclear energy generation and its uses. There will also be historic photographs of the construction of NNRC and Israel's other nuclear research facilities at the Israel's tourist attraction Nahal Sorek.

The museum is also slated to offer students a wide range of interactive exhibits, including X-ray screening, a model of an atom's structure, a demonstration of nuclear emission involving different materials, and a model of a nuclear plant complete with a control room.

Another section is planned to introduce the application of nuclear technology in medical treatment and methods of treating nuclear waste, the report said." (source)

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