A spokesman from Olmert's office has declined to comment.

In the report, Ben-Eliezer said that the decision to build a nuclear-power station had stemmed from concerns about depleting natural energy resources worldwide and the environmental damage caused by using coal.

Israel has declined to confirm or deny having nuclear weapons as part of a "strategic ambiguity" policy that it says fends off numerically superior enemies.

It is widely believed to be the sole nuclear power in the Middle East.

Last month, an Israeli court sentenced Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear whisteblower, to a six-month jail term, for violating a ban on speaking to foreigners.

In 2004, Vanunu completed an 18-year prison term for leaking nuclear secrets to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper about his work as a technician at the Dimona reactor.