Dimona: Israel’s ‘Little Hiroshima’ | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Dimona: Israel’s ‘Little Hiroshima’

In the early stages of research, before Dimona existed, there were accidents that exposed scientists to lethal levels of radiation. Some of them died and their names are known (though not well). Less known is that Dimona had a series of accidents - the most serious in 1966 - that exposed hundreds of its workers to similarly lethal doses.

Avner Cohen, the world’s leading scholar of the Israeli nuclear programme, told me that in the first 20-25 years the processes used to protect workers were primitive and sloppy. Mistakes were common, often not intentionally, but because relatively little was known about the proper handling of radioactive materials. In some cases, documentation was fabricated.

This is the subject of Orna Ben Dor’s riveting two-part documentary, The Dark Secret of the Dimona Reactor (Part 1 and Part 2, both in Hebrew), produced for Israeli TV. Workers there call the nuclear plant “Little Hiroshima,” alluding not only to the destructive power of what’s produced there, but the tragic impact that the reactor has on those who work within it.

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