Israel is expanding its Dimona nuclear facility located in the Negev desert, news agencies reported, according to new satellite images released on Thursday.
Dimona is Israel’s nuclear research facility. It was officially renamed after late Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres in 2018. Israel developed the fissile material for its nuclear arsenal in this nuclear reactor.
The International Panel on Fissile Material (IPFM), an independent expert group, on Thursday released new images, pointing out that the area being worked on is a few hundred metres across to the south and west of the processing point at the nuclear facility.
As reported by The Guardian, Pavel Podvig, a researcher with the programme on science and global security at Princeton University, explained: “It appears that the construction started quite early in 2019, or late 2018, so it’s been underway for about two years, but that’s all we can say at this point.”
The secretive nuclear facility built with French assistance in the 1950s has played a key role in equipping Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
According to The Guardian, The Federation of American Scientists estimated that Israel has about 90 warheads, made from plutonium produced in the Dimona heavy water reactor.