Senior Soreq Workers Questioned on Nuclear Security Crimes
Two senior workers at the Soreq Nuclear Facility in central Israel have been questioned for alleged security infractions. According to reports, the two were guilty of infractions in the area of data security, and their actions had endangered the security of Israelis. No specific details of the incidents were released.
The two, however, did not work together, and the infractions occurred in two separate incidents. One of the workers, a senior engineer, testified before an internal disciplinary committee, which forced him to resign his post. The case of the second one is still open and an investigation into his alleged actions are ongoing. He has been meanwhile suspended from his post.
Meanwhile, a report Wednesday said that Israel had returned to the United States several nuclear fuel rods that had been used in the Soreq plant since the 1960s. The rods were enriched to a level of 93%. The rods were returned to the U.S. as a “goodwill gesture,” a government statement said, and had been completed several months ago.
The Soreq Nuclear Plant was established in 1960 as a research reactor, and as such has been under International Atomic Energy Agency supervision. The rods were returned after the U.S. and Russia requested that Israel return them to the U.S., as part of a joint effort by the two countries to reduce the amount of nuclear material in the world. Israel has in recent years halted much of the work it had been doing at Soreq, and is instead working on constructing an electrical particle generator, considered much safer than a nuclear facility. That facility is almost finished, and is likely to completely replace the Soreq plant's activities by 2018, the statement said.