Israel and the prospects for a nuclear power plant

(To Maria Grazia Labellarte)

For over 25 years plans for the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Israel lie on the various negotiating tables in which Jerusalem is engaged.

According to US press sources, the Israeli Ministry of Energy recently contacted the Ministry of Finance with a request for approval of the contract of an international radiation protection expert.

Two years ago a statistical survey was carried out on the evaluation of public opinion on the desirability of building a power plant in an urban area of ​​the State of Israel: seventy percent of the respondents were not favorable to living near a power plant nuclear, but generally supported the project to build one.

Past plans have delegated the construction of a nuclear power plant to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), once a monopolist and now the largest electricity supplier in Israel. Designed to be installed in the southern area of ​​the Negev, the plant would have had a production of 1.300 megawatts. However, a subsequent reform established that the IEC would no longer have a monopoly on energy production in Israel, which was also allowed for private individuals.

Nuclear power plants, which rely on thermal power, are considered a low-carbon energy source similar to wind and solar energy.

Ten years ago, Israel set the target of achieving 5% green electricity by 2014 and 10% by 2020, but currently only reaches 6%.

Today, the 70% of Israel's electricity comes from natural gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea. Government plans are to bring this number up to 80% and integrate the rest with renewable energy sources.

A nuclear power plant would diversify the electricity sources in the country, reduce the need for gas-fired power plants and allow Israel to export more gas, according to an authoritative source in the Jewish and American press.

The Ministry of Energy intends therefore to present the appropriate recommendations for the power plant in the next 18 months, again according to sources involved in the project.

However, there are several projects that see Israel as an energy exporter. We recall, among others, the East MED - so the plant that will be used to transport gas from Israeli offshore fields up to Europe has been renamed. Estimates indicate that, when it becomes operational, it will supply 12-16 billions of cubic meters of gas per year.

The completion of the project is planned for the 2025 and, according to Israeli analysts, the pipeline will significantly increase Israel's natural gas export potential by helping to strengthen the position of the Jewish state as an emerging energy power.

Photo: Emmelie Callewaert