Chaïm Nissim

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Chaïm Nissim
Born 1949 (age 64–65)
Jerusalem, Israel
Residence Geneva, Switzerland
Nationality Swiss
Education Electronical and computer engineer
Alma mater EPFL
Known for Ecological Involvement
Spouse(s) "a Swiss woman" [1]

Sylvia (1986)
Yael (1988)

Talia (1995) [1]

Chaïm Nissim (born in 1949 in Jerusalem, Israel[1]) is a Swiss former activist, perpetrator of the rocket attack of 18 January 1982 on the Superphénix nuclear plant, and Green politician.


Nissim was born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1949 to the family of a Jewish banker.[1] He was raised and studied in Israel up to the age of 14, when his father was appointed director of an Israeli bank and his family moved to Geneva, Switzerland. Nissim obtained a degree in electronical and computer engineering at the EPFL in 1973.[1]

Activist background and attack on Superphénix[edit]

For ten years, Nissim, believing that fast breeder reactor "can explode with their fast neutrons",[2] did everything he could to stop the construction of the Superphénix nuclear plant, including training himself for underground guerilla, notably sabotaging electricity pylons with explosives.[1]

On 18 January 1982, Nissim fired five rockets on the Superphénix nuclear plant, then under construction. Five rocket-propelled grenades were launched at the incomplete containment building – two hit and caused damage, missing the reactor's empty core.

The weapon, a RPG-7, was obtained from the Red Army Faction through Carlos the Jackal and the Belgian Cellules Communistes Combattantes. [3][4]

Nissim states that

I know that it might sound odd to consider rockets as a non-violent mean of action. However, we took every imaginable precaution to be certain that no worker was at risk of being hit, therefore we committed a non-violent attack.[1]

He further stated

These attacks were part of a general movement in which each little piece had its importance. People fired rockets, myself for instance. We had found a bazooka by German terrorists and we fired it. We failed, as the closest rocket missed the important part that we targeted by one metre. It was nevertheless quite beautiful. And, symbolically, it was a token contribution to the larger movement. [5]

Political career[edit]

In 1985, Nissim was elected to a MP office at the cantonal parliament of Geneva, under the aegis of the Green Party of Switzerland. He held the position until 2001.[1]

On 8 May 2003, Nissim went public about the rocket attack of 1982,[3] publishing a book on the subject and his connections to terrorist groups.[1][6][7]

Nissim currently supports the Noé 21 group,[8][9] a thinktank on energy policies.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chaim Nissim, biography on Chaim Nissim's blog
  2. ^ "les surgénérateurs comme Creys- Malville, qui, avec leurs neutrons rapides, peuvent faire explosion" [1]
  3. ^ a b [2]
  4. ^ An industry incapable of adapting to the post-9/11 world,
  6. ^ Chaïm Nissim, L'amour et le monstre : roquettes contre Creys-Malville, Lausanne, Paris, Favre, 2004
  7. ^ See also this TV broadcast
  8. ^ Noé 21 webpage
  9. ^ noe21 members