15:27 GMT22 October 2020
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    The Israeli government, which has never declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program, built and detonated “dirty bombs” containing nuclear material over years of testing.

    The project consisted of 20 detonations with explosives laced with a radioactive substance, according to a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Mini-drones measured radiation levels and sensors logged the force of the explosions.

    In interviews with the paper, researchers were quoted as saying that the tests were only defensive and conducted to see how such an attack by a hostile force would impact the country. Most of the detonations were carried out in the desert and one was performed at a closed facility.

    Researchers measured a high level of radiation at the center of the explosions, while a low level of radiation was dispersed by particles carried by the wind. The dispersed radiation is not enough to pose a substantial danger, outside of any possible psychological damage, sources at the reactor told Haaretz.

    The series of tests, dubbed the "Green Field" project, concluded in 2014 after four years of testing; its findings have been presented at scientific gatherings and on nuclear science databases, Haaretz reported.

    Another project, known as "Red House," involved experiments in which a radioactive substance was left in a crowded public space but not exploded. In those tests, researchers put a radioactive material mixed with water in the ventilation system of a building that simulated a shopping mall.

    Scientists ultimately found that such an attack would be ineffective as a majority of the radiation remains in air conditioning filters, Haaretz reported.

    Israeli defense officials and scientists refused to comment on the Haaretz report when reached by the Associated Press.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has been very vocal in his criticism of US-led nuclear negotiations with Iran. Netanyahu has warned that lifting sanctions against Iran will enable Tehran to enrich its nuclear program, which he views as a threat to Israel.

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    Tags:
    nuclear tests, nuclear weapons, nuclear negotiations, nuclear program, United States, Iran, Israel
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