International Atomic Energy Agency
Information Circular
(Unofficial electronic edition)
8 May 1996

Original: ARABIC

Communication to the Director General of 24 April 1996 Received from the Resident Representative of Saudi Arabia to the International Atomic Energy Agency

  1. On 25 April 1996, the Director General received a communication dated 24 April 1996 from the Resident Representative of Saudi Arabia on behalf of Members of the Agency and Members of the Board of Governors from the Arab States, concerning the Israeli Dimona reactor.

  2. As requested by the Resident Representative of Saudi Arabia, the text of the letter is being circulated for the information of Member States.

On 5 June 1996 an addendum was issued to this document (INFCIRC/507/Add.1)

Text of Letter of 24 April 1996 from the Resident Representative of Saudi Arabia to the International Atomic Energy Agency

Dear Sir,

On behalf of the Arab States Members of the Agency and members of the Board, I wish to express the concern felt by the Arab Governments and peoples at the news and reports concerning the potential danger of leakage of nuclear radiation at the Israeli Dimona reactor and the hazards of storage and burial of atomic waste in the area of the reactor, for they feel that the continued existence of the nuclear reactor without any real knowledge about the extent of its safety and also the nuclear waste burial sites in the area pose a threat to security, life and the environment.

The following are among the factors that increase the intensity of this concern:

  1. Persistence of news and reports, including reports from Israeli sources, about radiation leakage at the reactor and the nuclear waste burial sites in the area of the reactor;

  2. The reactor is old and has reached the end of its assumed lifetime;

  3. The region is subject to earthquakes and earth tremors;

  4. Monitoring of radiation leakage into groundwater across the borders will require a long time before such leakage is deleted in the neighbouring States, making it technically difficult to determine, on the basis of measurements performed outside Israel's borders, that there was no accident which might have devastating consequences in the future.

The continuation of Israeli nuclear activities outside international control does not provide the least assurance about the nuclear safety of these activities, and there is no doubt that any nuclear accident in Israel will have transboundary effects and give rise to hazards beyond its borders. For this reason, it is necessary that there should be at least a minimum of transparency in the Israeli nuclear activities and that Israel should become a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to a safeguards agreement with the Agency.

It is therefore requested that necessary steps be taken on your part to inform the Agency's Member States of the extent of the concern felt by the Arab region as a result of these activities. The Agency is also requested to make contacts with a view to carrying out the necessary technical studies to measure the radiation level at the site of the Dimona reactor and in its neighbourhood and at the nuclear waste burial sites in the area in an endeavour to prevent the potential hazards of nuclear radiation leakage, and to submit a report thereon to the Board.

In this connection, I should like to point out that the potential danger from any nuclear accident would extend beyond the region. The Chernobyl accident and its consequences certainly continue to be a source of concern to the world and illustrate the real importance of nuclear safety.

In view of the urgency and importance of this matter, we hope that necessary steps will be taken without delay, and at the same time we request you to circulate this letter to the Member States of the Agency as an official document.

With kind regards,

Essa Al-Nowaiser
Dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps and
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

His Excellency Dr. H. Blix
Director General
IAEA, Vienna

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