Operation Plumbat

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Operation Plumbat is the name given to what is believed to have been an Israeli covert operation in 1968 to obtain yellowcake (processed uranium ore) to support the Israeli nuclear weapons effort.[1]

France stopped supplying Israel with uranium fuel for the Dimona nuclear reactor after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Numerous sources believe that in 1968 Israel managed to obtain 200 tonnes of yellowcake from the Belgian mining company Union Minière shipped out of Antwerp to Genoa for a European front company by transferring the ore to another vessel at sea. This Mossad covert operation violated Euratom controls of nuclear materials.[1][2]

The name of Operation Plumbat is derived from the Latin "plumbum", meaning lead, and is a reference to the labeling of the drums used to transport the yellowcake.[2]


A factual book called The Plumbat Affair by Elaine Davenport, Paul Eddy and Peter Gillman, published in 1978 by Futura Publications Ltd, ISBN 0233970169

The book Operation Uranium Ship by Menachem Portugali, Dennis Eisenberg and Eli Landau, published in 1978 by Signet Books, claims to provide details.

The 1979 book Triple by Ken Follett, also by Signet, is a fictional recreation of the events.


  1. ^ a b "Uranium: The Israeli Connection". TIME. May 30, 1977. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  2. ^ a b Victor Gilinsky (former Commissioner U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission) (May 13, 2004). "Israel's Bomb". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2007-12-08.