Click image, and if USA law permits,
it might get bigger. All violations Israel's Dimona facility is in the Negev desert at
will be reported to Homelamp Security.
and it's really cool to look down from satellites and see high-detail images of one of the world's most secret sites. Compared to the secrecy shrouding Dimona, Area 51 is a public picnic park.
I hope this post doesn't run afoul of GCE's policy about the health/medical aspects of ionizing radiation, because the medical issues aren't at all the reason I found these interesting and wanted to bring them to GCE's attention.
(I will go out on a limb, however, and say: Drinking uranium is bad. Dissenting opinions always welcome.)
The following article and editorial belong to a larger context: Israel's estimated 200+ fission weapons and Israel's refusal to acknowledge their existence, or sign any international non-proliferation treaties.
Israel's non-existent fission weapons will or won't be delivered by western Asia's and Africa's most effective air force, and Israel's recently acquired missile-capable German-built submarines.
We may indeed have good reason to freak out about Iran's, Syria's, Pakistan's, India's, North Korea's and Sadaam-regime Iraq's nuclear ambitions, but these states get all the finger-wagging noise and rogue-state accusations, while Israel's fission weapons are some sort of naughty world secret that evades nearly all international scrutiny and criticism.
FWIW, a disclaimer: I'm an American Jew with fond feelings toward Israel, exactly like an Irish-American with fond feelings toward Éire, or a Polish-American's feelings about Poland.
But when an Israeli administration acts whack and foot-shooting, I ain't drinkin' that kosher Kool-Aid.
Northampton, Massachusetts USA
Haaretz ("The Land")
Israeli national daily newsppaper
1 January 2009
Ex-staffer at Dimona nuclear reactor
says made to drink uranium
by Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
Workers at the nuclear reactor facility in Dimona were made to volunteer to drink uranium in 1998 as part of an experiment, according to a lawsuit filed four months ago in the Be'er Sheva [Beersheba] Labor Tribunal by a former worker at the facility.
The experiment was allegedly carried out without obtaining written consent from the workers or warning them of risks or side effects, as required by the Declaration of Helsinki on human experimentation.
The Israel Atomic Energy Commission said in a statement that the Dimona facility "has the safety and health of its workers as its highest priority."
The commission statement added that the amount of uranium the Dimona staffers drank in the experiment (100 micrograms) was less than the amount Be'er Sheva residents drink from their taps in one month.
The worker who submitted the lawsuit, Julius Malick, recently retired after he said he was threatened by the former director of the facility, Yitzhak Gurevich, and the director of human resources, Gary Amal, that if he did not retire he would be fired.
Malick is suing the Dimona facility for a total of NIS [New Israeli Shekel] 1,800,000 [today's rate: U$470,942] in compensation. According to the suit, Malick was "asked by his superiors to take part in an experiment on five workers. In the framework of the experiment, Mr. Malick and the other workers drank uranium. The experiment was conducted without medical supervision and no explanation was given as to the health risks to participants. Mr. Malick, out of fear for his livelihood and future in the department, agreed to the demand that he participate."
Malick, who worked at the Dimona reactor for 15 years before retiring in 2008, received his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry at Bar-Ilan University. He has another degree, in industrial engineering and management, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er Sheva.
The lawsuit also notes that, while the workers did not receive the results of the experiment, an article about it appeared in the scientific journal Health Physics. According to the suit, the article, written by a number of researchers - headed by Drs. Zeev Karpas and Avi Lorber, the directors of the Dimona facility's analytical chemistry lab - included the subjects' names without their permission.
The subjects were given grape or grapefruit juice containing uranium to drink and were then asked for a urine sample, which was then analyzed to determine how uranium is excreted from the body through urine. The researchers said it was not supposed to be dangerous, Malick told his lawyer, Alexander Spinrad. "Lorber and Karpas said that even they took part in the experiment themselves, although to this day it's not clear to me whether they actually did. Afterward co-workers to whom I told this said I was stupid for drinking it and they wouldn't have agreed under any circumstances to do it," Malick also told his lawyer.
Malick, a chemist, also said that a long time after the experiment, Lorber told him it was his and Karpas' private project. "That's ridiculous, of course, because the article listed other partners, whose names appear under their names and listed as workers of the Dimona facility," Malick said.
Malick also said he once complained that no records were being kept and Karpas "joked with me and said I was making a tempest in a teapot." The suit also states that his superiors never recorded his participation in the experiment in his medical records.
The suit describes a work accident in August of 1998, in which Malick sustained a burn on his hand as a result of contact with small amounts of uranium and other materials. Malick said he received poor treatment, and that he discovered by chance that the materials to which he had been exposed in the accident were not identified in the medical report. Malick told his lawyer he believed this type of maltreatment was systematic, and the suit alludes as much.
The lawsuit also states that Malick, in an internal memo to the safety department at the Dimona reactor, warned that workers who had been exposed in an accident to radioactive materials had not received suitable medical treatment. His first position at the Dimona reactor was in the analytical chemistry lab, where his job, among other things, was to evaluate possible damage to workers exposed to hazardous materials.
In the early years, Malick's superiors highly praised his work. However, Malick claims that he was later branded as a troublemaker when he tried to improve the level of safety and medical service at the plant. He was subsequently transferred to other positions where his skills could not be put to good use, the lawsuit states, and finally he resigned under threat of dismissal. After he resigned, Malick says he was forced to sign an agreement that discriminates against him relative to other pensioners of the facility.
Malick declined to be interviewed for this article out of concern over harassment by his former employers through the plant's security officers and the head of the security department in the Defense Ministry, which is responsible for security of information and the reactor. However, he confirmed to Haaretz that he had filed the lawsuit.
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Haaretz ("The Land")
Israeli national daily newspaper
Wednesday 19 August 2009
A symptom, not a solution
In a human experiment that took place 11 years ago at the nuclear reactor in Dimona [Negev desert, Israel], employees were coerced into drinking a mixture containing a concentration containing at least seven times more uranium than the allowable quantity in drinking water.
The experiment, as Yossi Melman reported in Haaretz, contravened the Declaration of Helsinki, and may have caused real damage to the health of the participants. When the report came out, the [Israeli] Atomic Energy Commission quickly asked the Committee for Nuclear Safety to appoint a special committee to investigate the experiment.
It is hard not to be amazed at the number of committees that are supposed to oversee the safety of operations at nuclear centers in Israel, including secret Knesset [Parliament] sub-committees, the state comptroller and internal auditors working at all those secret centers.
The system-wide failures in oversight and supervision of the experiment in question is therefore astonishing. It may be assumed that if the report had not come out in Haaretz, responsibility for this experiment would not have come under review.
The nature of these human experiments carried out by government entities like the Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, the Israel Institute for Biological Research, or the Israel Defense Forces enjoys secrecy under the pretext of security considerations. The public has learned to acquiesce to these experiments, on the unfounded assumption that they are necessary to strengthen the state's ability to protect its citizens.
The systems of oversight for these experiments were put in place to reassure the public, and especially those who take part in the experiments, that they are protected by watchful, professional authorities that act as a wall against any breach of law or protocol, in order to prevent improper experimentation.
However, it turns out that there are cracks, at the very least, in this protective wall. That is the case with the uranium-drinking experiment, the dives in the Kishon River, the anthrax experiments, the nerve gas at the Institute for Biological Research and apparently other cases that are still waiting to be aired, or those that "for security reasons" will never be publicized.
These cases require the experiments' supervisors to reexamine the efficacy of their implementation, and use their authority to set clearer and more transparent procedures that do not permit looking the other way or circumvention. A special investigative committee is part of the symptom, not the solution.
- 30 -
from the journal Health Physics
[You have to pay for the entire article.]
"Spot samples" of urine are routinely used to monitor occupational exposure to uranium and other toxic heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium. In the present work, it was shown that diurnal variations in the uranium concentration in different urine samples from the same individual could be quite large. However, these variations were in correlation to the Creatinine level of the same samples, with values of R = 0.72-0.99, for the five subjects studied here. Thus, it is proposed here that uranium concentrations in "spot" urine samples be expressed in terms of ng uranium g-1 Creatinine rather than ng uranium L-1. Once the 24-h Creatinine level is estimated for the individual based on weight, height and age, the adjusted values can be used for determination of the internal dose of uranium.
(C)1998 Health Physics Society
Labels: Dimona uranium Israel Haaretz