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Alarm in Malta over the proposal for a nuclear reactor in Sicily.

A nuclear reactor in Sicily? Malta Independent, 15 Jan 23,

During the recent 2022 electoral campaign, the issue of nuclear energy in neighbouring Italy has resurfaced in the political debate.

Matteo Salvini, currently Minister for the Infrastructure and Transport, in addition to being Deputy Prime Minister of the ruling Italian coalition government, is on record as emphasising that, given the current energy crisis, he considers that it would be expedient to resurrect the nuclear proposal.

talian voters have expressed themselves clearly on the matter twice. The last time was in a referendum in June 2011 in the aftermath of the Fukushima March 2011 nuclear disaster. Then, 94 per cent of those voting, opted in favour of a total ban on the construction of nuclear reactors on Italian soil.


The current energy crisis is pressuring all to find alternative energy supplies at affordable cost. Nuclear energy, however, comes with two hidden costs which are rarely ever factored into the costings presented for public debate: the disposal of nuclear waste and the inherent risks linked to the failure of the nuclear plants. The impacts of the nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania USA – 28 March 1979), Chernobyl (Ukraine – 26 April 1986) and Fukushima (Japan – 11 March 2011) are clear enough testimony of what is at stake, when considering the option of nuclear energy.

The disposal of nuclear waste is the subject of an ongoing debate all over the world. It is costly both environmentally as well as financially. In the recent past, closer to home, the eco-mafia dumped various types of waste including nuclear waste in the Mediterranean Sea in 42 different ships sunk in different parts of the Mediterranean. The specific case of the sunken ship Kunsky off the Calabrian coast was revealed by ‘Ndrangheta/Camorra turncoats Francesco Fonti and Carmine Schiavone many years ago in their testimony to the Italian authorities………………

The site which in 2011 was indicated by the Italian authorities as the most probable candidate to host a nuclear reactor in Sicily was along the southern coastline in the vicinity of Palma de Montechiaro. That would be less than 100 kilometres to the North West of Gozo.

As we are aware Sicily is an earthquake prone zone. In addition to the multitude of small earthquakes we hear about and occasionally are aware of throughout the year, the Sicilian mainland was exposed to the two most intensive earthquakes ever to hit the European mainland. The 1693 earthquake centred in South East Sicily had a magnitude of 7.4 while the Messina 1908 earthquake had a magnitude of 7.1 on the Mercalli scale. Both created havoc and had a high cost in human life! In addition, the physical infrastructure was in shambles.

A decision on whether the Italian government will once more attempt to consider the generation of nuclear energy on Italian soil is not due anytime soon. However, once the collection of signatures for a referendum on the matter gathers steam it will only be a question of time when we will have to consider facing the music one more time.

Our interest in Malta is in the transboundary impacts generated from a nuclear reactor sited along the southern Sicilian coast close to Palma di Montechiaro, should the proposed nuclear reactor malfunction.

It would be pertinent to keep in mind that the radioactivity emitted as a result of the Fukushima disaster led to a complete evacuation within a 200 km radius of the nuclear plant. Gozo being less than 100 km away from the Sicilian mainland should trigger the alarm bells of one and all as to what is ultimately at stake.  https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2023-01-15/blogs-opinions/A-nuclear-reactor-in-Sicily-6736248841

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January 15, 2023 Posted by | Italy, politics international | Leave a comment

Thousands rally in Rome against arming Ukraine

Trade unionists and leftists marched after the new government promised more arms for Kiev next year

https://www.rt.com/news/567650-italy-ukraine-weapons-protest/ 5 Dec 22,

Left-wing demonstrators took to the streets in Rome on Saturday, demanding higher wages and condemning the Italian government for renewing a decree allowing it to send weapons to Ukraine until 2024.

Organized by Italy’s USB trade union and backed by a number of leftist political factions, the protest saw thousands of people assemble at the Piazza della Repubblica and march behind a banner reading “guns down, wages up.”

“The Meloni government is dragging us further and further into a spiral of war with unpredictable outcomes,” the USB wrote prior to the protest. “Italy is evidently a belligerent and active country in the conflict, despite the fact that the great majority of the population is against the war and the consequent sharp increase in military spending.”

Italy’s new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, issued a decree on Thursday allowing her cabinet to continue sending weapons to Ukraine until the end of 2023 without seeking the formal approval of parliament. Her predecessor, Mario Draghi, was a staunch supporter of Kiev and lost power after a disagreement over arms shipments split the largest party in his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.


The Italian public is split too, with 49% opposing sending weapons to Kiev and 38% in favor, according to a poll taken by EuroWeek News last month. Additionally, 49% of Italians believe that Ukraine needs to make concessions to Russia in the ongoing conflict to speed up the peace process, while only 36% want Kiev to keep fighting.

Last month, another rally in Rome calling for a peace deal to end the Ukrainian conflict drew 100,000 people, organizers said.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Italy, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Blowback: Italian police bust Azov-tied Nazi cell planning terror attacks

Nazism has found a safe space in the Ukrainian armed forces

a 2022 Department of Homeland Security document acknowledged that “Ukrainian nationalist groups including the Azov Movement are actively recruiting racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist white supremacists to join various neo-Nazi volunteer battalions in the war against Russia”

ALEXANDER RUBINSTEIN·NOVEMBER 15, 2022,

The arrest of Italian neo-Nazis affiliated with the Ukrainian Azov Battalion highlights the terrifying potential for blowback from the Ukraine proxy war

Italian police announced a series of raids against the neo-Nazi Order of Hagal organization. Accused of stockpiling weapons and planning terror attacks, the group has established operational ties to the Ukrainian Azov Battalion.

Five members of an Italian neo-Nazi organization known as the “Order of Hagal” were arrested on November 15th while an additional member remains wanted by authorities. He happened to be in Ukraine, fighting Russian forces alongside the Azov Battalion, which has been formally integrated into the Ukrainian military. 

The “Hagal” members are accused of plotting terrorist attacks on civilian and police targets. A sixth member of the Hagal group, now considered a fugitive, is in Ukraine and embedded with the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has been incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard. 

Members of the Order of Hagal reportedly maintained “direct and frequent” contacts over Telegram with not just the Azov Battalion, but also the neo-Nazi Ukrainian military formations Right Sector and Centuria, “probably in the view of possible recruitment into the ranks of these fighting groups,” according to Italian media.

The police investigation was launched in 2019 and has included extensive computer searches and wiretapping; tactics which have revealed members of the group’s intent on carrying out violent acts in Italy. ……………………………

Footage of the arrests broadcast by the news channel Sky Tg24 shows long knives, a Nordic-style axe, a bat emblazoned with the words “Leader Mussolini,” a swastika flag, a gas mask, an Azov Battalion t-shirt and “Valhalla Express,” a memoir by an Azov fighter.

But Ukraine is not the only country to have been visited by members of the Order of Hagal; “some members” also traveled to Israel to train in Krav Maga and the use of long and short weapons,” according to police officials. In fact, they were even given diplomas for completing the training…………………………….

While Nazism has found a safe space in the Ukrainian armed forces, the arrests and warrants against the members of the Order of Hagal that planned terror attacks suggests the potential for blowback from NATO’s Ukraine proxy war, as battle-hardened, ideologically extreme veterans encouraged by Western governments and supported with US and EU aid return home to cities across Europe.

“The high availability of weapons during the current conflict will result in the proliferation in illicit arms in the post-conflict phase,” Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock has warned

As The Grayzone has reported, a 2022 Department of Homeland Security document acknowledged that “Ukrainian nationalist groups including the Azov Movement are actively recruiting racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist white supremacists to join various neo-Nazi volunteer battalions in the war against Russia” but noted a key intelligence gap: “What kind of training are foreign fighters receiving in Ukraine that they could possibly proliferate in US based militia and white nationalist groups?” https://thegrayzone.com/2022/11/15/blowback-italian-azov-tied-nazi-terror/

November 18, 2022 Posted by | Italy, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Italy’s far-right leader Giorgia Meloni favours return to nuclear power and increased gas production.

The front-runner to become Italy’s next prime minister in elections on
Sunday plans to focus on natural gas and nuclear energy, along with other
temporary market interventions to mitigate the country’s energy crisis.

The most recent opinion polls favour Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right
Fratelli d’Italia party, to win over her main rival Enrico Letta, leader of
the centre-left Democratic party. Much of the political campaign to replace
outgoing premier Mario Draghi has focused on the current tight energy
supplies, exacerbated by the Russian war in Ukraine, and skyrocketing
bills, which continue to pile pressure on Italian businesses and
households.

Gas, nuclear and EU green policies have emerged as contention
points. Meloni, who has teamed up with centre-right allies Matteo Salvini
and former premier Silvio Berlusconi, supports the reactivation of the
country’s long-shuttered nuclear power plants and an increase in domestic
gas production.

Montel 22nd Sept 2022

https://www.montelnews.com/news/1352753/front-runner-in-italian-election-focuses-on-gas-nuclear

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Italy, politics | Leave a comment

Italian Airport Workers Stop Arms Shipment to Ukraine Under Guise of “Humanitarian Aid”

In Italy, workers discovered that weapons were being shipped to Ukraine under the pretense of sending “humanitarian aid” and have refused to hand them over. Their example should serve as a model for all workers on how to take action against the war.

Defend Democracy Press By Simon Zinnstein, March 17, 2022 The war in Ukraine is causing more and more saber-rattling in the U.S. and Europe. As many countries massively ramp up their own military budgets, many more still are sending weapons to Ukraine. According to the Unione Sindacale di Base (USB), workers at Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa, Italy discovered boxes full of “weapons of all kinds, ammunition and explosives.” They had previously been informed that the delivery contained humanitarian goods such as food and medicine. The airport workers then refused to send the weapons to Ukraine via Poland.

……………………………….. The incident is also an example of how “humanitarianism” can be abused. The USB statement says: “We strongly condemn this blatant deception, which cynically uses the guise of ‘humanitarian aid’ to further fuel the war in Ukraine.” Humanitarian measures, such as sending aid supplies and accepting refugees are not enough to end the war — and in this case they even served as a cover for militarism.  http://www.defenddemocracy.press/italian-airport-workers-stop-arms-shipment-to-ukraine-under-guise-of-humanitarian-aid/

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Italy, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear not competitive’ and too late for energy transition: Enel Green Power CEO.

Nuclear not competitive’ and too late for energy transition: Enel Green Power CEO, Italian renewables giant ‘obviously’ won’t invest in nuclear due to long construction times and high costs, Salvatore Bernabei says  https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/nuclear-not-competitive-and-too-late-for-energy-transition-enel-green-power-ceo/2-1-1155407 By Bernd Radowitz 26 Jan 22,

Enel Green Power has no intention to invest in nuclear power despite the European Commission’s plan to label the technology as sustainable, the Italian renewables supermajor’s chief executive Salvatore Bernabei said.

Construction times of conventional nuclear power plants are far too long in relation to the need to get the energy transition done within the next 20 to 30 years, the CEO explained.

“If you think about the current technology and the current timing of development and construction of nuclear plants, it is much bigger than 10 years (from the moment) you take the initial investment decision,” Bernabei said at a press briefing.

You have the permitting, then you have the construction,” he said, adding that all projects currently being built have exceeded their planned construction time, and their completion takes “two to three times more than initially expected.”

“They are (also) out of budget. So, saying that nuclear could help in the transition with the current technology – I leave you to (make) the conclusion.”

His comments came after the EU Commission had proposed to include nuclear power and fossil gas under certain circumstances in its taxonomy that labels energy projects as sustainable and thus facilitates financing. The taxonomy proposal enjoys the backing by France, Finland and several Eastern European EU states that want to build or expand atomic power, but the inclusion of nuclear has been strongly opposed by Germany, Austria, Spain and Luxembourg.

Despite its stated wish to build new nuclear reactors and revamp existing ones to extend their operational life, France has suffered severe setbacks during the construction of the Flamanville 3 reactor, one of the few nuclear plants being built in Europe. The country this winter also had to switch off a series of atomic power stations, forcing it to import large volumes of electricity from neighbouring countries.

French state-owned utility EDF earlier this month has said the plant of the novel European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) type at Flamanville will cost another €300m more than forecast and fuel loading is being pushed back by up to six month, the Reuters news agency had reported. The 1.65GW reactor according to French media will then have cost French taxpayers a record €19.1bn ($21.5bn) instead of the €3.4bn originally budgeted, and have taken 15 years to build, ten years longer than originally planned.

Similar construction time and cost overruns have been experienced in Finland, where operator Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has recently started to commission the Olkiluoto 3 reactor, also an EPR reactor.

Germany’s government last weekend issued a statement rejecting the inclusion of nuclear power into the EU’s taxonomy.

“It is risky and expensive. New reactor concepts such as mini-reactors also entail similar problems and cannot be classified as sustainable,” economics and climate minister Robert Habeck and environment minister Steffi Lemke said in a joint reaction.

It is clear to everyone that the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of nuclear is much bigger than €100 per megawatt hour, Bernabei agreed.

Small nuclear reactors (SMRs), which by some investors such as Bill Gates are touted to be a quick solution helping the energy transition, and supposedly are safer, may not be such a quick fix either, the EGP CEO pointed out.

“Then you talk of the next generation (of nuclear power). But in the next generation, you have this word ‘next’, (which) has to be defined yet. We are speaking about something that could be ready in 2040 – perhaps,” Bernabei said.

The first SMR reactor is slated to be built in China by 2026, “and they are the first mover,” the CEO added.

“So, whatever the taxonomy would say, the question will be ‘is there anyone available to invest in a technology that would need more than 10 years to become a reality? And perhaps when it becomes reality, the market has completely changed its dynamic with a cost that today is not competitive.”

“As Enel we don’t intend to invest in nuclear obviously.”

Italy after a referendum following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster had switched off nuclear power in the by 1990, but the far right Lega party of Matteo Salvini lobbies for it renaissance.

January 27, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, Italy | Leave a comment

The “brigands” regroup in Basilicata

Italians reunite in the face of a renewed radioactive waste dump threat

The “brigands” regroup in Basilicata — Beyond Nuclear International 28 Nov 21,

”………………………………………… between November 13 and 27, 2003, just weeks before we arrived. An unprecedented and dramatic 15 days of protest had unfolded in Scanzano Jonico, culminating in the defeat of a plan by the Italian government, then led by Silvio Berlusconi, to dump all of Italy’s high-level radioactive waste at a single site at Terza Cavone, a few kilometers from Scanzano, in salt rock at a site just 200 meters from the shoreline.

The dump decision had been taken at night, without local consultation, the news deliberately buried in the papers, eclipsed by a headline-garnering suicide bombing that had killed 18 Italian service members at the Nasiriyah Carabinieri barracks in Iraq during that ill-waged war.

But the Lucani noticed the announcement right away. The news struck “like a lightning bolt” Tonino Colucci of the local World Wildlife Fund chapter told me later as we walked into that surprise press conference.

Before the ink was even dry, they had set up a base camp at Terza Cavone — where we were now. They had rallied people from all walks of life to protest, occupy stations, and block highways. The whole region declared itself a nuclear-free zone. Berlusconi’s own members of parliament in the area opposed the deal. By November 23, the ranks of protesters had swelled to 100,000. After fifteen days, the radioactive waste dump was canceled.

The protest garnered widespread coverage, including in the New York Times, and even spawned academic papers, one such describing the remarkable victory as having “cut across lines of locality, age, social class and political affiliation, mobilizing the populace with various symbols, including references to brigandage, postwar struggles for land, and the Madonna of Loreto.” I wrote up my own experiences in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Along with the expected objections — the unsuitability of the site so close to the sea; the damage to agriculture and the tourism trade —outrage was also expressed at the desecration of an area so steeped in ancient history. Pythagoras had fled to Basilicata from Greece. He made his table here. He died at Metaponto, just 16 kilometers from the proposed radioactive waste dump site. It was unthinkable to build a nuclear waste dump in such a venerable place!

So here we were at Terza Cavone having a press conference even though the victory had already been won. The site remained occupied. Passions still ran high (encapsulated later as they broke into brigand songs around what was now a roaring camp fire). There was plenty to talk about; plenty still to learn. But I learned more that night from listening — to farmers will the precious dirt of Basilicata still beneath their finger-nails; from union representatives; from mothers and vintners — than talking.

And that vigilance persists today as, once again, the Italian government has fingered Basilicata as a place “ideally suited” to a high-level radioactive waste dump. The protesters haven’t gone away, remaining on guard against just such a day when they might once again be targeted.

Only this time, Basilicata is not alone.

The news first broke in January 2021, that Sogin — the Italian state-owned company responsible for reactor decommissioning and radioactive waste management —had released a map identifying 67 potential sites in five zones that it considered suitable for a high-level radioactive waste repository. The selected sites included 17 in Basilicata and neighboring Puglia. Fifty more, in Piedmont, Tuscany-Lazio, Sardinia and Sicily, comprised the rest.

Italy’s high-level radioactive wastes are the product of just four now closed commercial reactors, one of which was already shut down when a 1987 national referendum, just a year after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, recorded a stunning vote of more than 80% of Italians opposed to the continued use of nuclear power. (With bafflingly daft timing, a 2011 Berlusconi government ran the referendum again three months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March. This time, 93% of Italians said they opposed a nuclear re-start.)

Italy’s radioactive waste is currently stored in about 20 temporary sites, none of which have been deemed suitable as final repositories. Reports on the inspections of the 67 sites identified by Sogin are due in December. A new shortlist of sites is expected in January 2022.

The Lucani, still organized under the mantel they established in 2003, Scanziamo le Scorie — which loosely translates as ‘we reject the wastes’ — are hoping to reignite the same momentum that brought them victory the first time. They participated in the National Seminar carried out by Sogin between September 7 and November 24 this year, and have prepared their own comments (in Italian) on the so-called criteria for suitable sites.

So far, the Sogin proposal has been met with vehement rejection. A spokesperson from Sardinia called it “an act of government arrogance, yet another outrage”. Puglia signaled its “firm and clear opposition”.

As Scanziamo le Scorie’s spokesperson, Pasquale Stigliani — who was there in 2003 — recently wrote to me, “the nightmare is back”. But, he added, “the mobilization continues!” https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/11/28/the-brigands-regroup-in-basilicata/

November 29, 2021 Posted by | Italy, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Italy launches national debate on nuclear waste disposal

The opening plenary session of Italy’s National Seminar, which aims at
deepening the analysis of the technical aspects related to the national
repository for radioactive waste and technological park project with all
interested parties, was held yesterday. The National Seminar, a series of
consultative meetings, follows the publication in January of a list of 67
potential sites for a radioactive waste storage facility.

 World Nuclear News 8th Sept 2021

https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Italy-launches-national-debate-on-waste-repository

September 16, 2021 Posted by | Italy, wastes | Leave a comment

Italian government lists 61 potential sites for nuclear waste dumping

Italy begins search for national radwaste storage site, WNN, 29 January 2021A list of 67 potential sites for a radioactive waste storage facility has been published by Societa Gestione Impianti Nucleari SpA (Sogin), the Italian state-owned company responsible for dismantling the country’s nuclear power plants. The publication of the list on 5 January, announced in five national newspapers, started a period of public consultation……

The 67 potential sites are located in seven regions: Piedmont, Tuscany, Lazio, Puglia, Basilicata, Sardinia and Sicily.  ……..

The planned surface-level waste store and technology park will be built in an area of about 150 hectares, of which 110 are dedicated to the repository and 40 to the park. The store will have the capacity to hold about 78,000 cubic meters of very low and low-level radioactive waste, as well as about 17,000 cubic meters of intermediate and high-level waste, pending the availability of a deep geological repository suitable for its disposal. ……..

Italy’s radioactive waste is currently stored in about 20 temporary sites, which are not suitable for final disposal. In addition to waste generated through the operation and decommissioning of its fuel cycle facilities and nuclear power plants, it includes radioactive wastes from medical, industrial and research activities………https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Italy-begins-search-for-national-radwaste-storage

January 29, 2021 Posted by | Italy, wastes | Leave a comment

Seven beautiful Italian regions furious at sites recommended for nuclear trash

We’ll fight it’: Uproar over nuclear dump plan in scenic Tuscany, https://www.theage.com.au/world/europe/we-ll-fight-it-uproar-over-nuclear-dump-plan-in-scenic-tuscany-20210108-p56skh.html Nick Squires, January 8, 2021   Some: Italian regional leaders are fighting against plans to dump nuclear waste in some of the most picturesque areas of the country.

Some of the 67 potential sites earmarked to become a national contaminated waste facility include the rolling valleys of Tuscany and the countryside around the southern ancient town of Matera, famed for its cavernous homes.

The governors of the seven affected regions, including Piedmont, Puglia, Basilicata, Sardinia and Sicily, have accused the national government and SOGIN, Italy’s nuclear decommissioning agency, of failing to consult them. Italy closed down its nuclear power plants after a referendum in 1987 – held in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The new deposit site would store waste from those power plants as well as radioactive material that is still produced by industry, hospitals and research centres.

Manolo Garosi, the mayor of Pienza, a Tuscan hill town, said he was incredulous about the prospect of a nuclear dump being located in his region.

“How can they be considering a region like ours, which has World Heritage recognition? It is totally unacceptable. This is an area of natural beauty,” he told Corriere della Sera newspaper. “I can’t imagine what tourists would say when they come here looking for beauty and discover instead radioactive waste dumps.”

Domenico Bennardi, the mayor of Matera, said locating the dump near the town would be a “slap in the face”, particularly as it was a European City of Culture in 2019. It was also used as a location for the forthcoming Bond film No Time To Die. “We’ll fight it at every level,” he said.

More than 20 of the potential dump sites are in the northern part of Lazio, famed for its Etruscan heritage, small villages and farmland. One of the sites is near the village of Gallese, where William Urquhart, a British businessman, helps run a country estate that his family has managed for more than a century.

“It seems mad to choose an area of designated natural beauty for something like this,” he said. “The government seems to have sprung this on the country out of the blue, in the middle of a pandemic in which people have become more conscious than ever of the importance of protecting the environment.

“Of course, no one wants buried nuclear waste where they live, but it needs to be an open, transparent process. Instead, it has come as a bombshell that will frighten a lot of people.”

The publication of the map of potential sites is the first stage in a long process that could last years.

“Now that people have seen the list, they can participate in the process and express their views,” said Deputy Environment Minister Roberto Morassut.

The government said the nuclear deposit site could bring benefits to a region – there would be 4000 jobs during the four-year construction phase and up to 1000 jobs when it is operational. The 370-acre facility would cost about €900 million ($1.4 billion).

January 9, 2021 Posted by | environment, Italy, wastes | Leave a comment

Seven regions in Italy to take legal action against plan for nuclear waste dumping

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Italy, legal, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Radioactive poisoning by the world’s military – the scandalous case of Sardinia

How paradise island Sardinia was poisoned by the world’s military | Foreign Correspondent  

 

Italian military officials’ trial ignites suspicions of links between weapon testing and birth defects in Sardinia https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-29/sardinia-military-weapons-testing-birth-defects/10759614

Key points:

  • Eight former commanders of a bombing range are before Italian courts
  • Locals living near Quirra firing range describe multiple cases of deformities and cancer as “Quirra syndrome”
  • Italy’s army has dismissed a report linking exposure to Depleted Uranium to disease suffered by the military
  • Watch the full episode on ABC iview

“She died in my arms. My whole world collapsed. I knew she was sick, but I wasn’t ready.”

Her daughter, Maria Grazia, was born on the Italian island of Sardinia with part of her brain exposed and a spine so disfigured her mother has never allowed her photo to be published.

This was only one of many mysterious cases of deformity, cancer and environmental destruction that have come to be called the “Quirra syndrome”.

Eight Italian military officers — all former commanders of the bombing range at Quirra in Sardinia — have been hauled before the courts.

It’s unprecedented to see Italian military brass held to account for what many Sardinians say is a scandalous coverup of a major public health disaster with international consequences.

Bombs and birth defects — is there a link?

In the year baby Maria Grazia was born, one in four of the children born in the same town, on the edge of the Quirra firing range, also suffered disabilities.

Some mothers chose to abort rather than give birth to a deformed child.

In her first television interview, Maria Teresa told Foreign Correspondent of hearing bombs exploding at the Quirra firing range when she was pregnant.

Enormous clouds of red dust enveloped her village.

Later, health authorities were called in to study an alarming number of sheep and goats being born with deformities.

Shepherds in the area had routinely grazed their animals on the firing range.

“Lambs were born with eyes in the back of their heads,” said veterinary scientist Giorgio Mellis, one of the research team.

“I had never seen anything like it.”

One farmer told him of his horror: “I was too scared to enter the barn in the mornings … they were monstrosities you didn’t want to see.”

Researchers also found an alarming 65 per cent of the shepherds of Quirra had cancer.

The news hit Sardinia hard. It reinforced their worst fears while also challenging their proud international reputation as a place of unrivalled natural beauty.

The military hit back, with one former commander of the Quirra base saying on Swiss TV that birth defects in animals and children came from inbreeding.

“They marry between cousins, brothers, one another,” General Fabio Molteni claimed, without evidence.

“But you cannot say it or you will offend the Sardinians.”

General Molteni is one of the former commanders now on trial.

Years of investigation and legal inquiry led to the six generals and two colonels being charged with breaching their duty of care for the health and safety of soldiers and civilians.

After repeated attempts, Foreign Correspondent was refused interviews with senior Italian military officials and the Defence Minister.

Governments earning money by renting out ranges

Sardinia has hosted the war games of armed forces from the west and other countries since sizable areas of its territory were sectioned off after World War II.

Rome is reported to make around $64,000 an hour from renting out the ranges to NATO countries and others including Israel.

Getting precise information about what has been blown up, tested or fired at the military sites and by which countries is almost impossible, according to Gianpiero Scanu, the head of a parliamentary inquiry that reported last year.

Many, including current Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, have previously accused the Italian military of maintaining a “veil of silence”.

Speaking exclusively to the ABC, chief prosecutor for the region, Biagio Mazzeo, said he is “convinced” of a direct link between the cancer clusters at Quirra and the toxicity of the elements being blown up at the defence base.

But prosecuting the case against the military comes up against a major hurdle.

“Unfortunately, proving what we call a causality link — that is, a link between a specific incident and specific consequences — is extremely difficult,” Mr Mazzeo said.

What is being used on the bases?

A recent parliamentary inquiry revealed that 1,187 French-made MILAN missiles had been fired at Quirra.

This has focussed attention on radioactive thorium as a suspect in the health crisis.

It’s used in the anti-tank missiles’ guidance systems. Inhaling thorium dust is known to increase the risk of lung and pancreatic cancer.

Another suspect is depleted uranium. The Italian military has denied using this controversial material, which increases the armour-piercing capability of weapons.

But that’s a fudge, according to Osservatorio Militare, which campaigns for the wellbeing of Italian soldiers.

“The firing ranges of Sardinia are international,” said Domenico Leggiero, the research centre’s head and former air force pilot.

Whatever is blown up on the island’s firing ranges, it’s the fine particles a thousand times smaller than a red blood cell that are being blamed for making people sick.

These so-called “nanoparticles” are a new frontier in scientific research.

They’ve been shown to penetrate through the lung and into a human body with ease.

Italian biomedical engineer Dr Antonietta Gatti gave evidence to four parliamentary inquiries.

She has suggested a possible link between disease and industrial exposure to nanoparticles of certain heavy metals.

The World Health Organisation says a causal link is yet to be conclusively established and more scientific research needs to be done.

Dr Gatti said armaments had the potential to generate dangerous nanoparticles in fine dust because they are routinely exploded or fired at more than 3,000 degrees Celsius.

Inquiry confirms causal links

In what was labelled a “milestone”, a two-year parliamentary investigation into the health of the armed forces overseas and at the firing ranges made a breakthrough finding.

“We have confirmed the causal link between the unequivocal exposure to depleted uranium and diseases suffered by the military,” the inquiry’s head, then centre-left government MP Gianpiero Scanu, announced.

The Italian military brass dismissed the report but are now fighting for their international reputation in the court at Quirra where the eight senior officers are now on trial.

The ABC understands commanders responsible for another firing range in Sardinia’s south at Teulada could soon also face charges of negligence as police conclude a two-year investigation.

Until now the military has been accused of acting with impunity.

Perhaps their reckoning has come.

 

February 4, 2019 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Italy, Reference, thorium | 1 Comment

Russia’s removal of radioactive barge is helped by Italian floating dock

Italian vessel assists in removing Russian Navy’s nuclear waste http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2018-08-italian-vessel-assists-in-removing-russian-navys-nuclear-waste

An enormous floating dock given to Russia by Italy has been put to use transferring a radioactive barge from the Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk to safe storage at the Sayda Bay facility near Murmansk.   by Charles Digges

An enormous floating dock given to Russia by Italy has been put to use transferring a radioactive barge from the Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk to safe storage at the Sayda Bay facility near Murmansk.

The dock, called the Itarus, was a gift from Italy to Moscow as part of a multi-country nuclear cleanup drive called the Global Partnership for Nuclear Safety agreed to 15 years ago by the then-Group of Eight industrialized nations.

The radioactively contaminated barge, called the PM-124, was built in 1960 and used as a floating dock for servicing nuclear submarines in the Soviet Northern Fleet. Slated for use until 1985, it continued collecting fuel assemblies for another 20 years. Since 2005, the fuel assemblies have been removed, but but for a time the barge was used used for storing other forms of solid radioactive waste at Zvezdochka.

While nearly all decommissioned submarines from the Soviet Northern Fleet have been dismantled by a variety of international agreements, a number of other military nuclear hazards still lurk on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, and the PM-124 was one of them.The Itarus is one of two nuclear-waste transport vessels that Italy provided for Russia under its Global Partnership obligations. The other, called the Rossita, a €70 million container ship, is now engaged in ferrying spent nuclear submarine fuel away from Andreyeva Bay, another major radioactive hazard left over after the Cold War.

For its part, the Itarus, which arrived in Russia in 2016, was designed specifically for shuttling reactor compartments from dismantled nuclear submarines to Sayda Bay, a facility run by SevRAO, the northern branch of RosRAO, one of Russia’s state nuclear waste handling contractor.

Rosatom has also billed it as a valuable tool in retrieving nuclear reactors and other radioactive debris intentionally scuttled in Arctic waters by the Soviet Navy.

No storage site for these underwater nuclear artifacts has yet been selected, but the Russian government has promised for years to raise them, and Rosatom’s submarine decommissioning chief, Anatoly Zakharchyov, has often suggested the Itarus, with its submersible dock features, would be handy for this endeavor.

In 2014, the Russian government revealed that the sunken waste in the Arctic includes 17,000 containers of radioactive waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radioactively contaminated heavy machinery, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel.

Joint Russian and Norwegian expeditions to the K-27 and another sunken sub, the K-159, suggest neither pose imminent contamination risks. But experts on both sides agree it’s better to get them out of the water sooner than later, before radioactive leakage becomes an urgent problem.

Zakharchyov has said the reinvigoration of the  Gremikha naval nuclear waste storage facility could be a critical storage site for undersea nuclear hazards eventually netted by the Itarus.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Italy, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuke plant seized after sea contaminated 

Near Matera  (ANSA) – Potenza, April 13 – An Italian nuclear plant in the process of being decommissioned was impounded Friday after the nearby sea was found to be contaminated. The ITREC plant at Rotondella near Matera in Basilicata was found to be pouring contaminated run-off water into the Ionian Sea.
Three water collection tanks and the run-off pipe were seized in a probe by Potenza prosecutors.
Possible charges in the case are environmental pollution, misrepresentation, illegal waste disposal and illegal waste trafficking, judicial sources said……http://www.ansa.it/english/news/general_news/2018/04/13/nuke-plant-seized-after-sea-contaminated-4_ccf1d514-352a-4efb-8b42-1f61bf3f97e4.html

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Italy, oceans | Leave a comment

Links between cellphone electromagnetic radiation and heart and brain tumours

Italian study links cellphone radiation to heart and-brain tumors  https://www.ewg.org/release/italian-study-links-cellphone-radiation-heart-and-brain-tumors#.WrVYStRubGg    Alex Formuzis (202) 667-6982  alex@ewg.org, MARCH 22, 2018   WASHINGTON – Laboratory animals exposed to cellphone radiation developed heart and brain tumors similar to the types seen in some studies of human cellphone users, according to an Italian study published today. EWG said the findings reinforce the need for people, especially children, to exercise caution when using cellphones and other radiation-emitting devices.

The study by the Ramazzini Institute, published in the journal Environmental Researchsupports the findings of the federal National Toxicology Program. Last month, the NTP reported that male rats exposed to radio-frequency radiation at levels including those emitted by cellphones had a greater chance of developing malignant brain cancer, and tumors in the heart and other organs.

The Ramazzini Institute’s research found that male rats exposed to the radio-frequency radiation emitted by cellphones using GSM networks had a greater chance of developing heart tumors and hyperplasias affecting Schwann cells, which support the peripheral nervous system. Schwann cell tumors were also observed in human epidemiological studies of tumor incidence in cellphone users, and in the NTP studies of lab animals.

“The Italian study reinforces the need for a precautionary approach when it comes to radiation from phones and other devices, especially for young kids,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., senior science advisor at EWG. “Children’s bodies develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cellphone use. As new telecom networks are built around the country, in-depth assessment of children’s health risks from cellphone radiation is essential.”

In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on  Cancer declared the kind of radiation emitted by cellphones a “possible carcinogen” based on human epidemiological studies that found increased gliomas and acoustic neuromas in long-term cellphone users. The data on health effects of cellphone radiation in laboratory animals collected by the NTP and the Ramazzini Institute studies support the earlier evidence from human studies that cellphone radiation increases the risk of cancer.

EWG has been at the forefront of public interest organizations raising concerns about connections between cellphone use and cancer. EWG’s 2009 Science Review on Cancer Risks and Children’s Health summarized comprehensive studies showing a variety of health harms linked to long-term cellphone use. This included increased risk of brain tumors; lower sperm counts, motility and vitality among men; neurological effects; and changes in brain metabolism.

While the public debate on cellphone radiation risks has focused on cancer, which  progresses slowly in response to lifelong exposures, a growing body of research suggests that even shorter exposures could cause harm. In a study published last year, Kaiser Permanente researchers reported that pregnant women exposed to radio-frequency radiation from sources such as wireless devices and cell towers had nearly a threefold greater frequency of miscarriage.

In December 2017, the state of California issued official guidelines advising cellphone users to keep phones away from their bodies. The state Department of Public Health also recommended that parents consider reducing the amount of time their children use cellphones, and encourage kids to turn the devices off at night.

To help concerned consumers, EWG has created tools and tips for reducing exposure to cellphone radiation. This includes EWG’s Guide to Safer Cellphone Use and Six Questions About Cellphone Radiation and Your Health.

For more information about how studies on laboratory animals can help answer the questions about human health risks from radio-frequency radiation, read EWG’s Comments to the National Toxicology Program on the NTP cellphone radiation study.

March 23, 2018 Posted by | Italy, radiation | 1 Comment