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. Israel to test installation to monitor Iran's nuclear activity: report
JERUSALEM, Jan 2 (AFP) Jan 02, 2007
Israel on Tuesday will test, for the UN, an underground installation in the Negev desert designed to monitor any attempt by arch-foe Iran to test nuclear devices, the daily Yediot Aharonot reported.

The test will consist of three strong explosions Israel will deliberately set off in the northern Negev using 15 tonnes of liquid explosives, to see how they register on equipment at the underground site.

Each blast will be equivalent to a seismic tremor of 2.4 on the Richter scale, the report said.

The facility is equipped with seismographs and other equipment able to detect earth tremors and transmits the data directly to the International Atomic Nuclear Agency (IAEA) in Vienna via Israel's nuclear research facility at Nahal Sorek, the paper said.

The new underground testing center is in the mountains near the Red Sea beach resort of Eilat.

"The station will assess earth tremors, and ways to predict them and other underground and surface activity, such as nuclear tests," the paper quoted Rami Hofshteter of the Lod Geophysics Institute near Tel Aviv as saying.

He added that "recent nuclear tests in India and Pakistan were recorded perfectly" at the Negev site.

A similar testing station is located in Mount Meron in Upper Galilee in the north of Israel, the report said.

Israel and the West suspect Iran of trying to secretly build nuclear arms under the cover of a civilian atomic power program. Tehran denies the charges.

The Jewish state, widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, considers the Islamic republic its arch-enemy following repeated calls by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be wiped off the map.

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