Robo-Sub to Find Mafia's Radioactive Waste?

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September 16, 2009—Authorities are using a robotic submarine to investigate whether the Mafia dumped "hundreds" of radioactive-waste barrels into the sea off Italy.

© 2009 National Geographic (AP)

Unedited Transcript

Italian authorities are using a high-tech robot submarine to investigate whether the mafia dumped radioactive waste into the sea beginning two decades ago. A special underwater camera on Saturday managed to film the prow of a shipwrecked boat off the Calabrian coast, believed to have been sunk by the mafia with radioactive waste inside.

No name of the ship is visible.

Its still unclear what the cargo held, or even if the ship was the Cunsky cargo vessel that mafia turncoat Francesco Fonti has spoken about to magistrates and in interviews on Italian TV.

A local prosecutor has cautioned that until the contents of containers on the sunken ship are known, he can't say if the allegations about the ship are true.

Former mobster Fonti has claimed the mob sank "hundreds" of barrels of illegally disposed of waste.

A Greenpeace official, Alessandro Gianni, praised Calabria's regional Councillor for the Environment Silvio Greco, who is a marine expert, for leading the project to try to establish what is inside the sunken ship.

SOUNDBITE: (English) Alessandro Gianni, Greenpeace: "I understand there are no evidence, I just seen from media report that there have been a sharp increase in cancers in certain coastal areas of Calabria. So I think that Silvio Greco is doing the right thing on this side. The second thing to consider is that Silvio Greco has a lot of experience on marine things. He has been working for one of the institutes, that was the Italian national marine research institute, and this institute did research on this issue."

The former mobster making the claims has said the mobsters made millions of dollars illegally dumping the waste.

He says the ship that was filmed was sunk in 1992 with 180 barrels of radioactive waste inside.

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