13
Aug
2004

Bases say emissions from Akrotiri antennae safe

The update from Cyprus, forwarded by the Cyprus Greens, underscores another kind of talent: soothing public health fears with false reassurances.

Imelda O'Connor


"Bases say emissions from Akrotiri antennae safe

by Alex Mita

(archive article - Wednesday, August 4, 2004)

THE BRITISH Bases said yesterday that both antennae at Akrotiri have been operating simultaneously and insisted that electromagnetic radiation emissions were well within safety levels.

Their comments came after Greens deputy George Perdikis blasted the British government during a visit to Akrotiri yesterday morning, for what he said was going back on a deal with the government that the two antennae would not be working at the same time.

Perdikis also accused the British of carrying out works to extend a power station which supplies both antennae with electricity.

A Greens said that according to their sources, an electromagnetic radiation monitoring device had been sent abroad for maintenance and would not be sent back until the autumn.

But in a statement yesterday, the Sovereign Base Area (SBA) said the British government had fulfilled commitments made in its Joint Statement with the Republic on August 28, 2001 on health! and environmental impact, adding that that was their primary concern due to the fact that British soldiers also worked near the antennas.

"The SBA are acutely aware of the public concern about the safety of the new antenna," the statement read.

"However, changing operational requirements since September 11 and technical developments over the last couple of years mean that the Pluto system will now operate as a whole, with the two main antennae being used simultaneously.

"The Republic of Cyprus government were notified of this development last year, and the matter has been reported widely in the Cypriot media since then. This is not a new issue," the SBA added.

According to the statement, the two antennae are complementary and will function as a single system across the high frequency band and the system will continue to transmit the same maximum power and have the same maximum gain as the previous system.

"Emission levels from the new antenna will be lower than those for the more extensive system of masts and aerials it replaced and will continue to be well within the safety limits set by the EU," the statement read.

The SBA said some components of the emissions monitor set up in Akrotiri have had to be removed for recalibration.

"This process needs to be carried out every two years to maintain the integrity of the system and the reliability of the data," the SBA said.

"The work will be carried out by the manufacturer in Italy and will take up to six weeks to complete.

"The decision to remove the equipment was taken in full consultation with the Cyprus government and with the agreement of the Akrotiri residents."

The SBA said that as a further measure of reassurance to the local community, the British and Cypriot governments had also commissioned a major epidemiological study into the potential impact of the antennae on the health of Akrotiri residents.

The study is being conducted by internationally renowned experts from Bristol University and is expected to report in about 18 months time.

"We believe that this to will demonstrate conclusively that the local community has nothing to fear from the antennae," the statement read.

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2004"
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