Leonardo DiCaprio highlights Israeli solar tech http://www.israel21c.org/leonardo-dicaprio-highlights-israeli-solar-tech/ Actor and environmentalist puts international spotlight on Megalim Solar Power project. JANUARY 22, 2017,Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio uses his instagram account to spotlight environmental challenges facing the world and environmental breakthroughs.
As such, his 13.8 million followers were sent a photo of Megalim Solar Power’s Ashalim power station now being built in the Negev desert.
“The arid landscape of Israel’s Negev Desert will look like a futuristic movie in the near future. The country is building the tallest solar thermal tower in the world above its dusty sands,” writes DiCaprio on his post alongside the photo.
The Ashalim project will comprise 55,000 mirrors which will feed solar heat into a 240-meter-tall solar tower — believed to be the highest in the world.
“The tower should be able to produce enough power for about 5% of Israel’s population when it’s concluded,” writes DiCaprio. “The sunlight will be reflected by the mirrors to a boiler at the top of the tower. The boiler will then be able to convert them and heat water to steam to turn the turbine in a conventional power plant.”
The Ashalim power station, scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year, will combine three types of energy: solar thermal, photovoltaic and natural gas.
Israel to build world’s tallest solar tower in symbol of renewable energy ambition, Independent, 5 Jan 17 With Israel traditionally running its economy on fossil fuels, renewable energy has long been hobbled by bureaucracy and a lack of incentives. In sunny Israel, solar energy supplies only a small percentage of the nation’s power needs, leaving it far behind countries with cloudier and colder climates.
Now the fledgling solar industry is trying to make a leap forward with a large-scale project boasting the world’s tallest solar tower, as a symbol of Israel’s renewal energy ambitions.
The Ashalim project, deep in the Negev desert, is made up of three plots, with a fourth planned for the future, each with a different solar technology. Together, the fields will be Israel’s largest renewable energy project when completed by 2018. They are set to generate some 310 megawatts of power, about 1.6 percent of the country’s energy needs — enough for about 130,000 households, or roughly 5 percent of Israel’s population, according to Israel’s Electricity Authority. …….
Another solar-thermal plot at Ashalim will be able to store energy even when the sun goes down. A third plot will use photovoltaic solar technology to produce energy.
Yaron Szilas, CEO of Shikun & Binui Renewable Energy, the lead developer of the second solar-thermal plot, said combining the three technologies was a wise move because each has its own advantage. The amount of electricity it produces will be comparable to large-scale solar fields in California and Chile……..
Israel has developed some of the world’s most advanced solar energy equipment and enjoys a nearly endless supply of sunshine. But Israeli solar companies, frustrated by government bureaucracy, have mostly taken their expertise abroad.
Countries with cooler climates have outpaced Israel. Germany, for example, gets nearly 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
“Israel has a potential to be a sunshine superpower,” said Leehee Goldenberg, director of the department of economy and environment at the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, a non-governmental organization. Despite some steps in the right direction, “Israel’s government hasn’t really been pushing to reach its small goals regarding solar energy.” …….. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-solar-tower-power-energy-renewable-tech-ambitions-a7510901.html
Documents Reveal Just How Freaked Out America Was Over Israel Building Nuclear Weapons, National Interest, Robert Beckhusen, 27 Nov 16, Israel’s nuclear weapons program is one of the biggest military open secrets in the world. Now we know a little more about the angst inside the Pentagon in the late 1960s, as Israel was months away from activating its nuclear deterrent.
That’s all according to new documents obtained by the nonprofit National Security Archive at George Washington University. In 2006, the researchers revealed the Nixon administration’s wrangling over what to do about Israel’s nuclear weapons program. But the latest round of documents show new details about the debate—and the stark warnings from Pentagon officials about the dangers of Israeli nukes…..
Israel remains highly secretive about its nuclear weapons—which are believed to number in the several hundreds. In the late 1960s, the secretive nature of the program led to lots of uncertainty in Washington about how far Israel had made it, and whether other Middle Eastern states knew about the program……http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/documents-reveal-just-how-freaked-out-america-was-over-18514
Israel in secret deal with Germany to buy 3 nuclear subs, Big News Network.com, Saturday 22nd October, 2016, TEL AVIV, Israel – A deal negotiated in secret will see the Israel Navy take delivery of 3 nuclear-enabled submarines over the next decade.
Germany is to provide the Dolphin-class submarines as a result of secret negotiations which have spanned the last few months.
Israel will pay a substantially discounted price of $1.3 billion for the three submarines.
The deal is expected to be finalised in early November.
According to The Jerusalem Post, quoting foreign reports, the Israel Navy’s Dolphins ‘provide Israel with nuclear second-strike capabilities, as they can travel far from Israel’s territorial waters and are reportedly able to carry long-range cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.’
Israel, which orchestrated the drive against Iran becoming a nuclear power, and has bombed emerging nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria, has itself been developing nuclear weapons since the 1950s. The Dimona nuclear plant in the Negev desert had its origins in 1954, just six years after the birth of Israel. The late Shimon Peres as Director General of the Israeli Defense Ministry was responsible for the development of the facility. A pact with France was secretly negotiated and hundreds of French scientists were brought in to develop the facility, in absolute secrecy.
To offset the concerns of satellite surveilance, the Jewish state publicly touted the facility as a business park or textile factory. When U.S. President John Kennedy aroused suspicions in 1963, Israel maintained its denials. Kennedy applied so much pressure, David Ben-Gurion resigned as prime minister of Israel just months before Kennedy was assassinated. Some researchers implicate the Israeli inteligence agency Mossad among those considered responsible for the assassination.
Peres himself was asked point blank by Kennedy if Israel was building a nuclear facility. Summoned to the Oval Room in the White House on a 1963 visit to Washington, the young Peres was asked in his words, ’30 rapid-fire questions,’ before Kennedy asked: “Are you building a nuclear option?” Peres said he changed the subject.
To this day Israel has neither confirmed or denied publicly it has a nuclear facility. The only official statement on Dimona was made on December 21 1960 when Ben-Gurion, in response to an aricle in Time magazine which spawned a flurry of media coverage, announced to the Knesset his government was building “a 24 megawatt reactor which will serve the needs of industry, agriculture, health, and science,” and that it “is designed exclusively for peaceful purposes.”
The Israel Navy until last year had a fleet of four Dolphin-class submarines operating out of its naval base at Haifa. A fifth submarine ariived in late December last year after which it was expected to be fitted with Iraeli-built systems which took several months. It is believed it is operational now…….http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/248758981/israel-in-secret-deal-with-germany-to-buy-3-nuclear-subs
These revelations cast a new light on Israel’s vehement opposition to the nuclear deal reached between the P5+1 group and Iran in July 2015. Furthermore, Sabbah Zanganeh, Iranian political analyst and Middle Eastern affairs expert, told Sputnik Persian that the existence of the Israeli nuclear arsenal is one of the chief factors contributing to the tensions in the region. “This is all part of the US double standards policy. The Americans are well-aware of the fact that the Iranian nuclear program always was and still is peaceful in nature and poses no threat to any nation or country. The US also knows that Iran opposes nuclear weapons, and not just for moral or humanitarian reasons, but first and foremost due to its religious beliefs. Iran rejects weapons of mass destruction of any kind,” Zanganeh said. On the other hand, he argued, Israel, which enjoys absolute US support, constantly threatens other countries in the region, provoking military conflicts and instigating wars against Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine……..https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160921/1045551459/tehran-israel-nuclear-weapons.html
UN urges Israel to ratify nuclear test ban treaty, http://www.timesofisrael.com/un-urges-israel-to-ratify-nuclear-test-ban-treaty/ Praising regional impact of Iran deal, top official calls on Jerusalem to officially adopt moratorium on atomic testing BY EDITH M. LEDERER September 1, 2016, UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israel should ratify the nuclear test ban treaty within five years — and Iran should also ratify but the timing is uncertain, the head of the UN organization established to implement the treaty said Wednesday.
He cited the impact of last year’s Iran nuclear deal in the Middle East for “creating the confidence-building conditions in the region to help others to move forward.” Zerbo said he has met Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif several times and the Iranians participate very actively in the test ban organization. “I think in Iran it’s a matter of when, and the when will depend on the condition that will be right … for them to consider the ratification,” he said. “The only thing I say as head of the organization is I hope the when is yesterday!”
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, known as the CTBT, has 196 member states — 183 that have signed the treaty and 164 that have ratified it.
But the treaty has not entered into force because it still needs ratification by eight countries that had nuclear power reactors or research reactors when the UN General Assembly adopted it in 1996: the United States, China, Iran, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the treaty and Zerbo was at UN headquarters for a panel organized by the General Assembly to mark Wednesday’s International Day Against Nuclear Tests.
The Obama administration supports a worldwide ban on nuclear testing but hasn’t ratified the treaty because it doesn’t have the votes in the Republican-controlled Senate. China also reaffirmed its commitment to the treaty at Wednesday’s meeting, but didn’t say when it might ratify, Zerbo said.
He said Pakistan has shown leadership recently, talking about a “bilateral moratorium with India” on nuclear testing. “They’re waiting for a response from India,” he said.
North Korea, the only nation that has tested nuclear weapons in the 21st century, was the only country of the eight key nations whose ratifications are needed to boycott Wednesday’s General Assembly meeting. While its seat was empty, its underground explosions were criticized by Japan and many others.
Zerbo said he advocates reopening a dialogue with North Korea “one way or another,” stressing that nothing has stopped Pyongyang from carrying out nuclear tests and firing ballistic missiles.
“What I’m thinking is how can we get them to adhere to a moratorium on nuclear testing as an immediate and first step to denuclearization,” he said. “We have to find the means to do that.”
Zerbo said he thinks there’s an opportunity to open a dialogue with North Korea, similar to the six-party talks with Iran that led to last year’s nuclear deal, and possibly using the six-party talks aimed at negotiating the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula which Pyongyang pulled out of in 2008.
He said one-on-one talks with countries close to North Korea can lead to wider international discussions because “it’s the only way we can get them to stop.”
Israel minister admits Iran has respected nuclear deal, Yahoo 7 News, AFP on August 7, 2016 Jerusalem Israel’s energy minister on Sunday criticised a landmark nuclear accord between the Jewish state’s arch-foe Iran and world powers but said Tehran had so far respected the deal.
The agreement, which was signed in July 2015 and came into force in January, saw Tehran accept curbs to its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions by world powers.
“It’s a bad deal but it’s an accomplished fact and during the first year we spotted no significant breach from the Iranians,” said Youval Steinitz, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“But it’s still too early to conclude that this 12-year deal is a success,” he told public radio.
Steinitz’s comments came after US President Barack Obama on Thursday defended the accord…..https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/32262076/israel-minister-admits-iran-has-respected-nuclear-deal/#page1
Documents detailing UK’s involvement in Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal vanish, Jerusalem Post, 5 Aug 16 Israel maintains a policy of ambiguity concerning nuclear weapons, neither confirming nor denying publicly that it has the capability. The United Kingdom on Thursday said that records detailing the UK’s involvement in Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal have gone missing over the last four years, according to London based internet publication, The Independent.
A textile factory with a differenceOne of the world’s oldest nuclear plants helped build the Jewish state’s secret nuclear arsenal
WITH its cupola dully glinting in the sun across kilometres of an exclusion zone in the Negev Desert, the nuclear reactor near the Israeli town of Dimona has for decades been the subject of intense speculation. Its bland official name, the Centre for Nuclear Research, belies a martial purpose. Foreign intelligence services, atomic scientists and a former Israeli employee claim that it is the source of fissile material used to make Israel’s nuclear weapons.
The country’s atomic secrets have always been closely guarded, so little is known about the plant at Dimona. However, officials at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) admitted at a scientific conference last month that the reactor is showing its age. An ultrasound inspection of the aluminium core found 1,537 small defects and cracks, they said. The lifetime of such a reactor is usually around 40 years. At 53, Dimona is one of the world’s oldest operating nuclear plants.
The reactor, which was supplied by France, was switched on 15 years after the establishment of the state of Israel. The embattled country’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, insisted that Israel needed a nuclear deterrent. The programme was spearheaded by his assistant, Shimon Peres, and the main components were first activated in 1963. The government claimed that Dimona was a “textile plant”.
Many of the ancillary systems in the reactor have been renewed or replaced, but the core itself cannot be swapped out. The flaws that have been detected are closely monitored and there is no serious suggestion that the reactor is unsafe. Yet in most other countries it would have been deactivated long ago. Safety concerns will only increase with time.
Israel has never used its reactors for generating electricity. Along with the United States, France, Russia and China, it is one of the few countries believed to have acquired the nuclear “triad”. It can deliver nuclear weapons as bombs dropped from an aircraft, as warheads on a land-launched missile (since the 1970s) and on missiles fired from submarines.
The third leg of the triad is thought to have been added in 1999, when Israel received the first of six planned submarines. These were built and largely paid for by Germany. If, as reported, they can launch nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, this would give Israel a “second-strike” capability, allowing it to retaliate even if an enemy were to destroy its air bases and missile silos in a nuclear “first strike”. In January Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “Our submarine fleet will act as a deterrent to our enemies who want to destroy us.”
Dimona’s defenders say it has both symbolic value (as a reminder that Israel will defend itself fiercely) and practical uses, too. It is a source of materials needed to maintain nuclear warheads, such as tritium (which decays, but could theoretically be produced or procured by other means). It is also the centre of a “secret kingdom” of scientists whose capabilities the government is loath to give up.
For nearly six decades, Israel’s policy of “nuclear opacity” has served it well. Its Arab neighbours are convinced it is a nuclear power, but Israel clings to the ambiguous formulation that it “will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the region”, neither acknowledging nor denying its capabilities. With powerful neighbours still openly advocating its destruction, the Jewish state will keep its doomsday weapons. But its ageing reactor? Perhaps not.
When he was released from prison in 2004, Israel banned him from speaking with foreigners and leaving Israel, among other restrictions.
According to Sunday’s indictment, Vanunu met two Americans at a hotel in east Jerusalem in 2013, moved apartments without notifying Israeli authorities in 2014, and in 2015 told an Israeli TV anchor information related to his work at the nuclear reactor that he is forbidden from speaking about.
Report finds more than 1,500 defects at aging Israeli nuclear plant April 26, 2016 by JNS.org.A recent examination of Israel’s nuclear reactor site in Dimona has revealed signs of 1,537 defects to the site’s aging aluminum core, according to a study released at a scientific forum held in Tel Aviv, Haaretz reported.
According to the report, the reactor core, which houses the fuel rods where nuclear fission takes place, has absorbed a great deal of heat and radiation over the years, raising questions over its ability to operation.
Israel’s nuclear reactor was supplied by France in the late 1950s and became active in 1963. According to manufacturer standards, the reactors were intended to be operational for only 40 years. …..http://www.jns.org/news-briefs/2016/4/26/report-finds-more-than-1500-defects-at-aging-israeli-nuclear-plant#.VyAwOdR97Gg=
Ex-IAF General: Israel Capable Of Destroying Iran’s Nuclear Program, Breitbart, TEL AVIV 27 Mar 16 – The IDF is capable of destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities with a preemptive strike, the head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) said on Saturday.
“The Israeli Air Force can meet the challenge of destroying Iran’s nuclear reactors if necessary,” Maj Gen (ret.) Amos Yadlin said in a speech reported by Channel 10 news.
Yadlin, who served as an IAF commander as well as the IDF’s military attaché to Washington, stated that if Israel were to find itself at an “intersection where you have to choose between two alternatives: One is whether Iran will have a bomb and we do nothing … and the second is whether to conduct a preemptive action to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon,” then Israel would be capable of destroying the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities.
Yadlin also made reference to similar operations in the past that met with success. These include Operation Opera, in which Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, and the destruction of a Syrian nuclear facility in 2007.
He noted that both operations drew sharp criticism of Israel, even though the country never claimed responsibility in the case of Syria……..http://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2016/03/27/ex-iaf-general-israel-capable-of-destroying-iranian-nuclear-program/
US spying reveals Israeli bids to block Iran nuclear deal, France 24 2015-12-30 The U.S. National Security Agency’s foreign eavesdropping included phone conversations between top Israeli officials and U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s campaign against the nuclear deal with Iran, according to the unnamed officials, the Journal said.
NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations, which they learned through Israeli spying
operations, the newspaper reported.
The NSA reports allowed Obama administration officials to peer inside Israeli efforts to turn Congress against the deal, according to the Journal.
Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, was described as coaching unnamed Jewish-American groups on lines of argument to use with U.S. lawmakers, and Israeli officials were reported pressing lawmakers to oppose the deal, the newspaper said.
Asked for comment on the Journal report, a White House National Security Council spokesman said: “We do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.”……. http://www.france24.com/en/20151230-usa-nsa-israel-netanyahu-iran-nuclear
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