Dimona nuclear reactor to be renamed in honour of Shimon Peres

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Dimona nuclear reactor in southern Israel will be renamed in honour of Shimon Peres.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the announcement that he intends to have the Nuclear Research Center-Negev renamed for Peres, who died two weeks ago, at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

“Shimon Peres worked greatly to establish this important enterprise, an enterprise which is important to the security of Israel for generations, and I think that it would be right and proper to rename the centre after him,” Netanyahu said Sunday morning.

Peres, a former president and prime minister of Israel, founded Israel’s arms production industry and led efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. His work led to the building of the nuclear reactor at Dimona, in secret and with French assistance, beginning in the late 1950s. The reactor became active between 1962 and 1964.

According to reports, enough plutonium has been produced at the reactor to fuel between 100 and 200 nuclear bombs.

Peres died on Sept. 28 at 93 following a severe stroke. Shortly after Peres’ death, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz discussed the possibility of renaming the heavily trafficked Ayalon Highway for him.

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