Vatican Radio Changes Frequencies to Reduce Radiation

Will Transmit Some Programs from Monaco

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 28, 2001 ( Vatican Radio will modify its medium wave transmissions by Friday to bring them in line with a strict, new Italian law on electromagnetic radiation.

Vatican Radio´s antennas, which predated the law, drew criticism last spring from some ecologists of the then center-left Italian government. The Vatican agency announced its new plan Monday, which followed a deal with the Italian government in May.

The papal broadcasting station has signed an agreement with Radio Monte Carlo to transmit in its medium-wave frequency programs in Hungarian, Czech, Polish and German. Beginning this Saturday, the transmission of these programs will be carried via satellite from the booster station of Radio Monte Carlo in the principality of Monaco.

The potency of the booster stations of the Santa Maria di Galeria transmission center (some 20 kilometers [12 miles] from Rome) has also been reduced from 600 to 150-100 kilowatts, in keeping with the limits established by Italian legislation. Last spring´s controversy was sparked by complaints from residents in the area around Vatican Radio´s antennas.

The redesigned plan of frequencies includes a new channel opened with Eutelsat Hot Bird 2 satellite for the diffusion of new programs of the European area.

At one point, then Italian Environment Minister Willer Bordon threatened to cut off electricity supply to Vatican Radio. He relented after a solution was negotiated.

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