The Biodiversity project is the result of a scientific collaboration agreement between TELT and the University of Turin. It involves the assessment of the presence and distribution of certain animal and plant species and the planning of measures to safeguard them in view of the extension of the site.
The project includes the study of the protected butterfly Zerynthia polyxena, for the management of which TELT has made available the rooms of the offices of the Archaeological Museum of Chiomonte and has provided the necessary scientific research equipment. In addition to the monitoring of the protected butterfly, there are also monitoring activities concerning wolves and ungulates, chiropters (bats), and the one dedicated to the area’s flora.
Prof. Simona Bonelli, professor of Zoology and Invertebrate Conservation at the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology (DBIOS) of the University of Turin, is in charge of the studies on Zerynthia polyxena. Prof. Michele Lonati, of the Department of Agricultural, Forestry and Food Sciences (DISAFA), works in close synergy with Bonelli’s team to ensure the protection of vegetation. The University’s research team also draws on the scientific expertise of Prof. Sandro Bertolino (DBIOS), who studies bats, wolves and ungulates in the areas surrounding the site.
Health Impact Assessment
The “Health Impact Assessment” (HIA) study was developed by experts from the Work Medicine Section of the Department of Public Health and Paediatric Sciences (DSSPP), led by Professor Enrico Pira. For the purposes of the study, TELT, under the supervision of the Regional Agency for Environmental Protection (ARPA), carried out more than 62,000 surveys to monitor 135 parameters through 26 control units located throughout the work site and an additional 40 located within a radius of 15 km from the site.
Environmental factors measured include: dust, radiation, asbestos, water, noise, vibration and biological components. In no case have any significant issues emerged. For the purpose of the study, a comparison was made of the citizens’ health data before the start of the works and, via continuous exchanges with the municipalities involved, during the works.
The final reports show that the years of work in Chiomonte have not altered the state of the environment and have not generated impacts on the health of citizens. The tests are still ongoing.
TELT used for this monitoring system 5% of the total budget allocated to the construction of the geognostic tunnel, an investment that is unprecedented among any major construction works in Italy.
The cooperation initiative between TELT and the Polytechnic of Turin was born with the aim of exploiting the geothermal resources connected to the works for the Mont Cenis base tunnel.
The study conducted between 2017 and 2018 confirmed that the geothermal resource made available by the waters derived from the tunnel is a clean and renewable energy source that can give rise to productive activities, helping to reduce pollutant emissions in the regions concerned, thus representing an opportunity for the territories involved in the works for the Lyon-Turin line.
The study also showed that geothermal energy is a resource that has to deal with distances: its effectiveness is in fact linked to the distance between the point of production and the point of use. It is for this reason that the immediate neighbouring territory is the one which can benefit from its positive effects.
Projected uses include the construction of district heating networks (for the construction site area or population centres), the supply of agricultural or hydroponic greenhouses and the heating of swimming pools.