Cohen on the purpose of Dimona

2021-11-23

in Bombs and rockets, History, Politics, Security

The scope of the Israeli request for French technological assistance, the details of which Shimon Peres spelled out in Paris in 1956/1957, was tantamount to a national proliferation commitment. Enough is now known about the extent of the Dimona deal to appreciate how determined Ben-Gurion was to pursue it. The Dimona nuclear complex was designed to include all the technological components required for a plutonium-based nuclear-weapons infrastructure. The project’s scope and purpose were evident in the facility’s sanctum sanctorum, the deeply dug underground reprocessing facility designed to extract plutonium from spent uranium rods. Nothing is more indicative of Israel’s initial commitment to build a nuclear-weapons capability than this supersecret and costly facility. From the beginning, Israel hoped that [sic] within a decade or so to have enough fissile material to build its own nuclear device.

Cohen, Avner. The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb. Columbia University Press, 2010. p. 57–8

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