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Israel covered up leak at Dimona

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 11, 1993) Israeli authorities hushed up a leakage of radioactive waste water last August from the Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona into a national park that includes hiking trails. They are now saying there is no danger from the accident, although the military has part of the park closed.

(392.3825) WISE Amsterdam - Israel's Environmental Affairs Minister Yossi Sarid confirmed that the leak occurred but said there were no environmental implications. But environmentalists are questioning this, saying that officials have banned any independent examination of the affected area. The leakage, which occurred 2 August 1992, only became publicly known in late April of this year. Immediately after it occurred the head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command, General Matan Vilnay, ordered the area closed.

That order is still in effect, but the IDF and the Nature Reserves Authority have reached an agreement that the major marked hiking routes in Matesh Katan canyon in southern Israel will be opened and the rest of the area closed. Meanwhile, Egypt and Israel have agreed to study radioactivity levels along the Israeli-Egyptian border in southern Israel. The agreement came after higher levels of radioactivity in certain parts of the Negev than the rest of Israel were reported, leading to Egyptian concern.

Source: Nucleonics Week (US), 6 May 1993
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