Vatican Radio Halves Potency of Transmissions

Still Awaits Further Studies on Antennas

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VATICAN CITY, APR. 11, 2001 ( Vatican Radio has reduced the strength of its medium-wave transmissions by 50%, as a sign of concern for residents who fear electromagnetic contamination from its antennas outside Rome.

The agency, meanwhile, is awaiting the result of studies on the health impact, if any, of its antennas at Santa Maria di Galeria.

On Tuesday, the government decided not to cut off electricity to the papal broadcasting station. At the same time, top representatives of an Italian-Vatican bilateral commission were meeting to resolve problems related to the antennas´ electromagnetic fields at Santa Maria de Galeria.

Meetings between the government and the Vatican will continue next week, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

Vatican Radio said that data published Tuesday by the Environment Ministry showed that the agency was abiding by international recommendations for electromagnetic transmissions around the broadcasting center.

Vatican Radio said that when it adapted its installations, it kept in mind international criteria, certified by the World Health Organization. Italy at the time had not yet set a norm.

Recent Italian law is now far more restrictive, but even in this case, the transmissions of the papal broadcasting station are only slightly above the ltalian legal limits, the Environment Ministry report found, according to the Vatican.

Vatican Radio noted that Italian Health Minister Umberto Veronesi opposes Environment Minister Willer Bordon´s criteria, saying they lack scientific justification.

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