Following opposition from workers at the Dimona Nuclear Research Facility, the Ministry of Environmental Protection will not be able to conduct a full test of the air quality in the area around the Facility.
Due to public outcry regarding the huge problem of air pollution in over the last few years, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has upped the number of air quality monitors around the country. The monitors send information to a central processing center in real time at the ministry, while at the same time are able to capture air for a more detailed lab analysis.
The Rotem Plains Industrial Zone – located next to the nuclear research facility – is home to several large factories, alongside a giant power station.
After the ministry installed these expensive sensors in the industrial zone, people from the nuclear research facility came to the ministry and complained. The people from the nuclear facility said that they had problems with the constant monitoring of the air in the area, and specifically were against the capture of air for further examination, especially in light of the fact that some of these samples would be sent outside of Israel for analysis. The worry is that people outside of the country might find out details about what happens at the facility – details which Israel would prefer to keep under wraps.
Government officials say that an agreement has been reached, but follow-up research has revealed that the new systems in Dimona still haven’t begun working.
The nuclear energy council said that “a process has been established for monitoring air quality in the Rotem Plains Industrial Zone, and this process has been put into action in cooperation with all of the relevant parties. A management problem in regards to the monitoring has been resolved, and there is no more opposition to the establishment of the monitoring systems.”
The Ministry of Environmental Protection released a statement saying “the air quality monitoring systems in the Rotem Plains Industrial Zone are under construction, and will see eight monitoring stations by the end of construction. Four stations have been established thus far, and two others are waiting to be hooked up to the electrical grid. Another monitor is waiting for clearance from the municipality, and we are determining locations for another.”