Snippets

A

ARPA

ARPA, Regional Environmental Protection Agencyis a public agency for prevention and reduction of environmental pollution. On an input from local institutions, the Sicilian ARPA agency (sometimes referred to as ARPAS) run a monitoring campaign of EM radiations from the antennas already operating in the NRTF-8 military base, Niscemi, Sicily. The Italian Environment Ministry endorsed the conclusions of a scientific study by Zucchetti and Coraddu, that showed that the campaign was not run in compliance to the Italian law. Local institutions were asked to "ascertain that exposure limits established by current regulations are respected [...] postpone any conformity judgement about both facilities (NRTF and MUOS) to those evaluations".

Authorisations

In 2001 a bilateral agreement was signed between Italy and USA (Berlusconi Government). This agreement was than validated in 2006 (Prodi Government). The Assessorato Ambiente e Territorio, the environmental branch of the Sicilian Government, in 2007 started the procedure to obtain the permission to build, getting a positive environmental impact evaluation (Valutazione di Impatto Ambientale, VIA). In 2008, the permission was given thanks to the approval of all institutions present at a meeting, among which representatives of the major of Niscemi, the local authority for cultural and environmental heritage, the regional department for environment, the managing authority of the Sughereta reserve, the entity for public forests, the local authority for environment protection.

E

Exposure to EM emissions

The prolonged exposition to electromagnetic emissions of medium intensity is considered dangerous for human health (risk of cancer, leukaemia, cataract, ...). Moreover, the exposure to strong EM fields can be deadly. A possible pointing error of the MUOS antennas could cause serious harm (i.e., burn) to a person that might be along the radiant direction.

H

Health

Human health might be compromised by prolonged exposure to medium-intensity electromagnetic radiations (risk of getting cancer, leukaemia, cataract, ...). Moreover, exposure to high-intensity EM fields might be deadly (e.g., due to a pointing error of a parabolic antenna).

I

Interferences

It is widely known that strong electromagnetic fields can interfere with electrical devices, such as electro-medical devices (by-passes, pace-makers) and devices held in hospitals. The electromagnetic fields of the MUOS antennas (added to the radiations produced by existing antennas in the same military base) could be high enough to interfere with devices in the close town of Niscemi, Sicily. The Niscemi MUOS station should have been installed in the base of Sigonella. It was moved to Niscemi because of the risk that EM radiation could make explode missiles on board of military aircrafts.

M

M.U.O.S.

Mobile User Objective System. It is a high-frequency satellite telecommunication system (Ka band) made by five satellites (four and one spare) and four ground stations, one (almost complete) in the Sughereta park of Niscemi, Sicily (a natural site protected by the European Union). The M.U.O.S. program of the Defence Department of the U.S.A., will be complete in 2015 after all satellites have been launched. This system will grant communication to all U.S.A. military mobile users around the world, including drones, military unmanned aircrafts.

Microwaves

High-frequency electromagnetic radiations (UHF, EHF). The prolonged exposure to microwaves can increase the chances of getting cataract in aged people. Direct exposure to microwaves can generate interactions with the brain, causing nervousness and headache. Research carried on at NASA in the seventies showed that this can be caused by thermal expansion of parts of the inner ear. It is dangerous to lie in the emission lobe of antennas of powerful avionic radars.

N

No MUOS

The No MUOS movement is a spontaneous aggregation of people to oppose to the installation of the M.U.O.S. station in Niscemi, Sicily. The movement fights for the revocation of authorisations to the construction and operation of the system.

P

Precautionary principle

The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action [from Wikipedia]. It is a common sense approach that has been formally defined in the 1992 International Conference of the UN on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Taken up in the Maastricht Treaty, it has been included in the European constitution. Hence, it is a law enforced all over Europe. The precautionary principle can be applied to the MUOS case, because all of the three key points are met: identification of potential risks (exposure to EM fields, damage to the Sughereta park), a rigorous scientific evaluation on the available data (a scientific report by Zucchetti & Coraddu), the lack of scientific proof as to reasonably exclude the identified risks (the technical reports produced, including the original USA project, do not meet these requirements).