A secretive nuclear facility at the center of Israel's undeclared atomic weapons program is undergoing what appears to be its biggest construction project in decades, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.
A dig about the size of a soccer field and likely several stories deep now sits just meters (yards) from the aging reactor at the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center near the city of Dimona, satellite photos show. Reportedly, the facility is already home to decades-old underground laboratories that reprocess the reactor's spent rods to obtain weapons-grade plutonium for Israel's nuclear bomb program.
What the construction is for, however, remains unclear. The government did not respond to detailed questions from the AP about the work. Under its policy of nuclear ambiguity, Israel neither confirms nor denies having atomic weapons. It is among just four countries that have never joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a landmark international accord meant to stop the spread of nuclear arms.