Israel in possession of 115 nuclear warheads, US report says

Israel possesses 115 nuclear warheads in its secret arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, according to US report

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem November 22, 2015.

A new study released on Friday by the Washington DC-based Institute for Science and International Security states that Israel has produced a total of 115 nuclear warheads since the country began producing them in 1963.

Israel produced 660 Kg of plutonium in its nuclear reactor in Dimona in the southern Negev Desert, the report added.

The report, which was based on previous studies and investigations, also states that “Israel has a wide range of delivery vehicles for its nuclear weapons.”

The institute predicted that the plutonium production began in December 1963, making Israel the sixth country to successfully develop nuclear weapons following the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

However, Israel is one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a nuclear weapons state by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea.

The Dimona site also includes a heavy-water reactor, a fuel fabrication plant and a plutonium separation plant - all of which were provided by France in the 1950s and early 1960s, the report stated.

US, Germany, the UK and Norway are also widely believed to have supplied Israel with nuclear materials at the time.

In addition, Israel, the report goes on, has a wide range of warhead delivery systems at its disposal, including ballistic missiles, nuclear-capable cruise missiles and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear payloads.

The study also asserts that Israel has a submarine fleet from which it is able to launch nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

Meanwhile, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released annual data in 2013 stating that Israel is holding 80 active nuclear bombs in its possession.

According to the founder of the institute, David Albright - who also wrote the report - Israel continues to uphold a policy of "strategic ambiguity" regarding its nuclear arsenal.

Israel has never openly recognised the very existence of its nuclear program, let alone the size of its nuclear arsenal, even though the declassification of several US government documents confirmed its existence.

Albright added that the revelations made by Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, in 1986 had unveiled a much grander Israeli nuclear weapons program than had been commonly evaluated at the time.

The Guardian journalist Julian Borger had also stated that Israel has been stealing nuclear secrets and covertly making bombs since the 1950s, while western governments, including UK and the US, turn a blind eye. 

The actual number of Israeli nuclear weapons is still kept a closely guarded secret.

TRTWorld and agencies