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Published on Dec 11, 2007
Ezer Weizman once said "The nuclear issue is gaining momentum [and the] next war will not be conventional." From the 1950s the US trained Israeli nuclear scientists and providing nuclear technology, including a small 'research' reactor in 1955 under the 'Atoms for Peace' program. The French built a uranium reactor and plutonium reprocessing plant in the Negev desert, called Dimona. The Israelis lied, stating it was "a manganese plant, or a textile factory". In return for uranium, Israel supplied South Africa with the technology and expertise that allowed the white supremacist regime to build the "apartheid bomb". In 1979 US satellite photographs revealed the atmospheric test of a nuclear bomb in the Indian Ocean off South Africa, Israel's involvement was quickly whitewashed by a carefully selected scientific panel, kept in the dark about important details. Israeli sources have since revealed "there were actually three tests of miniaturised Israeli nuclear artillery shells". Mordechai Vanunu worked as a nuclear technician at Dimona. A supporter of Palestinian rights, Vanunu believed it was his duty to warn the world about the danger Israel posed. In 1986, he smuggled out photographs showing that the plant was producing enough plutonium to make 10 to 12 bombs a year, and that at least 200 miniaturised bombs had been built.