Israel stole uranium from U.S., report will show
A U.S.-based research institute will soon publish what it says is “indisputable” evidence that Israel stole weapons-grade uranium for its still-undeclared atomic weapons program from a nuclear reprocessing plant in western Pennsylvania.The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) will release this month a 300-page report detailing the initial findings of a multi-year research project investigating the disappearance of highly enriched uranium from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (Numec) in Apollo, Pennsylvania in the 1950s and 1960s.Grant Smith, the director of IRmep, told The Daily Star that the report would include a broad range of newly declassified and un-redacted government documents from various agencies – including the Department of Energy, Atomic Energy Commission, FBI and CIA – that prove that nuclear material was diverted from Numec to Israel.“The story at this point is that there is no one smoking gun; there are many smoking pistols lying all over the place that we’ve painstakingly collected,” Smith told The Daily Star.When contacted by The Daily Star, Zalman Shapiro, the founder and former president of the Numec, strongly denied that any diversion of materials to Israel had ever taken place at the plant.The story is fabricated. Absolutely fabricated,” said Shapiro, who is now 91 years old.Smith said that among the evidence to be included in the report is a DOE document confirming that uranium samples picked up by the CIA outside Israel’s nuclear installation in Dimona bore the same isotopic signature as material produced by the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in the U.S. state of Ohio. The Portsmouth plant was a supplier for Numec.Victor Gillinsky, who was a commissioner for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1975 to 1984, said that evidence of a link between samples found at Dimona and nuclear material produced at Portsmouth, if reliable, would be “very significant.”“The [Portsmouth] plant was producing very highly enriched uranium, more highly enriched than the usual stuff produced anywhere in the U.S. or other countries because they were turning it out for Navy fuel. So if you found material of that high enrichment, I believe Portsmouth was the only place in the world that would be making it,” Gillinsky told The Daily Star.The former NRC official cautioned, however, that such evidence should still be viewed with skepticism, since any samples picked up by CIA agents at the Dimona facility would have been extremely small.“The question is, did they really pick up things that they could clearly identify as coming from Portsmouth?” said Gillinsky.