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Israel Atomic Energy Commission

  • Location
    Dimona (Negev Desert) and Yavne
  • Type
    Nuclear-Research and Development
  • Facility Status
    Operational

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On 13 June 1952, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion established the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) as Israel’s primary nuclear regulatory authority. The IAEC remained hidden from the Israeli public until 1954. The IAEC operates two research centers, the Negev Nuclear Research Center and the Soreq Nuclear Research Center. 1 The Commission advises the Israeli government on nuclear policy and sets nuclear research and development priorities. 2 The IAEC also “implements national policies, represents Israel in nuclear-related international organizations, and maintains relations with relevant national authorities of other states.” 3

The key units of the IAEC are the Department for Nuclear Engineering, the Licensing and Safety Department, and the Unit for Diplomatic Relations. The primary tasks of the IAEC’s Department for Nuclear Engineering are to promote “the topic of reactors domestically and of the infrastructure needed for nuclear power (nuclear fuel and clearing nuclear waste), long-term planning (including testing new technologies) and researching desalinization of seawater using nuclear energy.” 4 The purpose of the Licensing and Safety Department is to “formulate safety policies, build and operate nuclear power stations, and test safety aspects of those plants.” The department also manages the treatment of radioactive waste, coordinates and advises with regard to nuclear standardization and participates in overseeing the dangers of radiation in Israel.” The Unit for Diplomatic Relations of the IAEC develops international contacts and the director of the unit serves as the spokesman for the IAEC. 5

Since 1966, the Chairman of the IAEC has been the Prime Minister of Israel. As of December 2021, the current Director General of the IAEC is Zeev Snir, who is selected by and reports directly to the Prime Minister. 6 The Prime Minister consults with the Minister of Defense for the appointment of the Director General.

Glossary

Nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor: A vessel in which nuclear fission may be sustained and controlled in a chain nuclear reaction. The varieties are many, but all incorporate certain features, including: fissionable or fissile fuel; a moderating material (unless the reactor is operated on fast neutrons); a reflector to conserve escaping neutrons; provisions of removal of heat; measuring and controlling instruments; and protective devices.
Nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant: A facility that generates electricity using a nuclear reactor as its heat source to provide steam to a turbine generator.
Radioactive waste
Radioactive waste: Materials which are radioactive and for which there is no further use.

Sources

  1. “Nuclear Energy Handbook: Nuclear Research in Israel,” International Atomic Energy Agency, www.iaea.org.
  2. “About Us,” Israel Atomic Energy Commission, www.iaec.gov.il.
  3. “About Us,” Israel Atomic Energy Commission, www.iaec.gov.il.
  4. “Atomic Energy Commission,” Office of the Prime Minister, www.pmo.gov.il.
  5. “Atomic Energy Commission,” Office of the Prime Minister, www.pmo.gov.il.
  6. “Past and Present Directors-General of the IAEC,” Israel Atomic Energy Commission, www.iaec.gov.il.

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