GAZA, August 24, 2004 (IPC + Al Bayan) -- Israeli environmental officials declared that about 200 migrating birds between Africa and Europe died when they stopped near the Israeli nuclear reactor Dimona.
The officials attributed the causes of death to drinking the toxic waste water resulting from the Rotem chemical plant near the town of Dimona, in the Negev Desert.
The migrating birds, all storks, died after one day of drinking the water, the officials said.
Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear whistleblower who was imprisoned for 18 years in Israel for exposing its nuclear secrets to the world, warned of the increasing risk of Dimona's nuclear reactor, and demanded the Israeli government to shut it down.
Vanunu told Al Jazeera satellite channel yesterday that the Dimona reactor became very old, and unless it shuts down, another "Chernobyl" disaster might occur again in the region.
The Dimona reactor is 40 years old now, and the reactors of its kind usually lasts for 30 years, and many Israelis have demanded its closure for the increased risk it started to pose to the Israeli society and the entire region.
On July 27, the Israeli government began distributing "Logol" iodine-containing pills to the people living around the reactor, in order to protect them from the radiation leaking from the worn-out reactor.