Report: Israel Has 80 Nukes, Can Triple Inventory
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Israel has never confirmed or denied possession of nuclear weapons, but according to new report by US experts it has at least 80 operative warheads and has enough material to produce up to 190 more.
In a report published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, nuclear weapon proliferation experts Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen assess that Israel stopped producing nuclear warheads back in 2004 once it reached around 80 munitions.
However, it can easily double its arsenal since it has enough fissile material to build at least another 115 bombs, experts say.
“There are rumors that Israel is equipping some of its submarines with nuclear-capable cruise missiles,” the report says, echoing the 2013 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute yearbook on armament and international security which also suggested Israel could have nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missiles and reported the same assessment of nuke stockpiles.
The suspicions were fueled by the fact that Germany supplied Israel with five Dolphin-class submarines, allegedly capable of launching nuclear missiles, and signed a contract to build a sixth, RT reported.
It remains unknown how many nuclear warheads of the total inventory could already be deployed, as Israel continues to maintain its long-standing policy of nuclear opacity.
Most experts estimate that Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, largely based on information leaked to the Sunday Times newspaper in the 1980s by Mordechai Vanunu, a former worker at the country's Dimona nuclear reactor.
And former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert alluded to Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal in comments in December 2006, a week after then US Defence Secretary Robert Gates used a similar form of words during a Senate hearing.
In May 2008, ex-US President Jimmy Carter said Israel had at least 150 atomic weapons in its arsenal. The Israelis have never confirmed they have nuclear weapons.