Radioactive sheep to strengthen nuclear weapon test claim against Israel, researchers say

The nuclear test seen above, is a 34-kiloton blast conducted by France in the South Pacific in 1971.

(Getty Images)

Newly discovered data of radioactive sheep provides strong evidence that there is a mysterious “double flash” was detected almost 39 years ago near a remote island group, there was a nuclear explosion.

Since the flash is noticed by an AMERICAN “Vela” satellite in an Earth orbit in September 1979, there is already speculation that it is produced on the basis of a nuclear weapons test by Israel. International researchers in the journal Science & Global Security analyzed previously published results of the radiation tests at a US lab of the thyroid gland, organs of sheep in the south-east of Australia in their determination.

The flash is located in the area of Marion and Prince Edward islands, in the South of the Indian Ocean, about halfway between Africa and Antarctica.

“A new publication sheds further light on the Vela Incident of 1979,” said Professor Nick Wilson, of Otago University in Wellington, which highlighted the findings but was not involved in the research itself. “[Research] adds to the evidence base this is an illegal nuclear weapons test, most likely conducted by Israel with the help of the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Wilson, an epidemiologist and member of the Australia-based Medical Association for the Prevention of War, said the test would have violated the Limited Test Ban Treaty signed in 1963, and urged the United Nations to the assembly of a complete application.


The researchers conclude that the iodine-131, which is an unstable radioactive form of the element iodine found in the thyroid glands of a number of Australian sheep, “would be in accordance with the grazing in the path of a possible radioactive fall-out plume of a [September 22, 1979] low-yield nuclear test in the Southern Indian Ocean.”

“This was an illegal nuclear weapons testing, most likely carried out by Israel…”

– Professor Nick Wilson

The thyroid samples of sheep killed in Melbourne were regularly sent to the USA for testing—monthly in 1979, but also in the years 1950 and 1980, the researchers say.

According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the sheep were grazing in an area affected by a rain of four days after the flash incident was observed, it is in the downwind path of the suspected explosion site.

Researcher also said that the detection of a “hydroacoustic signal” of underwater listening devices on the time is another piece of evidence pointing to a nuclear test.

Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of a nuclear program, dismissed the claim that it was responsible for the 1979 incident.


Israel Ambassador of New Zealand, Itzhak Gerberg, said the Herald, when asked if Israel was responsible for the explosion: “Just a ridiculous assumption, that can hold no water.”

However, the country of the former Knesset Speaker, Avrum Burg, told a conference in 2013 that “Israel has nuclear and chemical weapons” and called for a public discussion.

Commenting on the findings, the U.S. nuclear weapons expert Leonard Weiss of Stanford University said in the online Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , that the “important” new evidence “removes virtually all doubt” that the flash was a small-yield nuclear explosion.

Weiss added that there was “growing circumstantial evidence” that was carried out by Israel.

“Israel is the only country with the technical ability of policies and the motivation for such a clandestine test,” he said.

Christopher Carbone is a reporter and news editor covering science and technology for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

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