Former spymaster's firm seeks uranium in Israeli desert
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
A file picture taken on July 9, 2008 shows French nuclear giant Areva' subsidiary Eurodif uranium enrichment plant in the Tricastin nuclear power center in Bollene, southern France. AFP PhotoAn Israeli energy firm run by a former head of the Mossad spy agency is to start prospecting for uranium in the southern Negev desert, the company said on Thursday.
In a note to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Gulliver Energy, chaired by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, said it had received provisional approval from the water and energy ministry for an exploration licence to be issued on payment of the required fee.
"The company has paid the said fee and it is to be expected that the licence will be received in the coming days,' said the note, which was published on the stock exchange website.
The ministry's spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.
The Ynet news website said it would be the first search for uranium in Israel by a local company, although Gulliver would use foreign consultants and import technical equipment.
Another news site, Arutz Sheva, said Gulliver had told the ministry "seismic and other tests indicated that there was a 'strong likelihood' that uranium and other materials would be found at the site," around the desert town of Arad.
Israel has two nuclear reactors, one at Dimona, around 16 kilometres (10 miles) from Arad and the other in its nuclear research facility at Nahal Sorek, west of Jerusalem. The Jewish state is widely believed to have around 200 nuclear warheads, but has a policy of neither confirming nor denying that, a stance which it calls "nuclear ambiguity." Nahal Sorek is open to international inspection but Dimona is not.