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Rare photos of Israel’s nuclear research center released for the first time

By Mason White 6:46 PM August 22, 2013
Photo of Israel’s nuclear center 

By: John Roberts
The company behind the design of Israel’s nuclear center in southern Israel has released photos of the site for the first time.

The black and white photos were published by the architectural firm “D. Eytan / R. Lahav-Rigg”. The company was responsible for the construction of the reactor during the 1960s.

The photos were taken during the construction of the reactor, which according to foreign experts manufactured hundreds of nuclear and hydrogen bombs for Israel.

Among other things, the photos show several different structures, such as a library, water tower and residence. The company also released a satellite photograph taken from space of what was then called “a Negev civic center.”

The photos were taken by architect Dan Eitan, and were sent to Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, in recognition of his contribution to the construction of the complex. Israel has maintained a cloud of secrecy about its nuclear program. As we reported earlier, Israel has as many nuclear weapons as other large military superpowers, according to a new report released this week.

Israel has about 80 nuclear weapons, 50 for their Jericho II medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 for gravity bombs carried by military fighter jets. Israel also has additional non-strategic nuclear weapons, including artillery shells and atomic demolition munitions, according to the report.

The U.S., Russia, U.K., France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel, have about 4,400 operational nuclear weapons combined. Nearly 2,000 of them are kept in a state of high operational alert. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states have a combined total of approximately 17,265 nuclear weapons, the report said.