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Gov't considers distributing iodine tablets to homes near nuclear plants

25 Comments

The Nuclear Regulatory Agency has announced new recommendations for changes to existing nuclear disaster safety guidelines.

Among the changes that are being considered is a plan to distribute iodine tablets to homes located within 50 kilometers of nuclear power plants, Sankei Shimbun reported Thursday. However, the agency added that such a plan would require a change to Japanese laws restricting the distribution of strong medicines.

The change is believed to have been proposed due to the fact that thousands of cases of thyroid cancer were reported in children and adolescents who were exposed to radiation following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Iodine can be used to help protect against thyroid cancer in the event of exposure to radiation following a nuclear accident.

The agency has also recommended expanding the existing evacuation zones around nuclear plants from 10 to 30 kilometers. Further guideline changes and disaster evacuation drills are to be carried out by local governments, the commission said.

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25 Comments
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But, nuclear power is safe, isn't it? Doesn't sound very reassuring.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This should have happened right after the accident, but I suppose having supplies available for future problems is good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

However, the agency added that such a plan would require a change to Japanese laws restricting the distribution of strong medicines

So incorporate such actions into an emergency response law. The British Embassy set up the distribution of iodine tablets to British citizens fairly quickly. I'd say this can be done quite easily, you just need to distribute these tablets to key places in the prefectures, e.g. city halls - with perhaps extra supplies at locations further from the plants, to cater for evacuees being forced away from the site of explosions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Key word "considering", requires a law change to distribute medicine, homeless, extending the evacuation zone. None of which have been done in the last 18months, doubt it will happen in the next 18

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why do they still insist on a 30km evacuation zone? We already know from the man-made Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters that people outside this distance can be heavily contaminated. It's obvious the authorities don't want to admit they got it horribly wrong with Fukushima.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The change is believed to have been proposed due to the fact that thousands of cases of thyroid cancer were reported in children and adolescents who were exposed to radiation following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

This is a well known medical data accessible to everyone in the world. This should have been done a long time ago. As a matter of fact, all US personnels directly involved in Tomodachi Operation rescue mission were given iodine tablets while they were in Tohoku. Every government policy action of Japan is taking too long to do right things for people. It is very frustrating.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not sure iodine tablets do the trick. anyway, thought they were closing all the plants down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very stupid idea, as people will panic at the first news of any "issue" and take all the tablets at once. Iodine poisoning is not a fun thing, and while people are unlikely to die outright, they are liklely to have serious side effects including some long lasting ones.

Hospitals, police departments, and other qualified technicians should have stock in case of an actual need, not whenever random unqualified people think they need it.

As for Chernobyl and thyroid cancer only 700 excess cases were discovered, and only 10 cases lead to death, NOT thousands as this article mistakenly states. Most of those were due to tainted food, especially milk. Russian government refused to admit an accident had happened until weeks after it did, and by then the damage was done. In a society as connected as Japan, there is no risk of that, and therefore very little need for potassium iodide.

The only thing I can imagine the government wanting to do this for is if they expect a tactical strike on a nuclear power plant, in which case iodine levels would spike fast enough to need tablets quickly. Makes no medical sense otherwise.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

If they are talking about this then they are planning to restart more.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This could be extremely dangerous. Many people are sensitive to the amount of iodine in their bodies and could become extremely sick taking these. People with shellfish allergies are one group of iodine sensitive people. I agree they should be available, but distributing them would be a very bad idea.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unreal.

My country's embassy e-mailed me and asked if I wanted some for myself and my family - about a week or so after the meltdown.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A little late for Fukushima and not really the best plan for the future either. If they want to keep stock of these pills, they should be a central location that would be accessable in the case of an emergency. People can receive them then and be given proper instructions on how to take them. They would be useless and a waste of money just being hidden away in someone's med. kit when a disaster strikes and they have to flee , probably leaving the pills behind.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

SushiSake3Oct. 05, 2012 - 10:25AM JST

My country's embassy e-mailed me and asked if I wanted some for myself and my family - about a week or so after the meltdown.

I guess France? Even though every radiological medicine expert warned against the use of potassium iodide tablets and prussian blue due to the low levels of iodine and cesium in the environment and food. By a week later, half the iodine is gone entirely, and within one or two days most of the iodine is no longer in the local environment.

If you regularly cook with iodized salt (in the US they have Morton's salt, in Japan none have "iodized" labeling in my local market) , it provides a fairly good protection against radio-iodine at least good enough to last you until doctors can weigh in on taking potassium iodide or not.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Dosage depends on age and weight, plus period / time length of use. Can be harmful.

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/BioterrorismandDrugPreparedness/ucm072265.htm

Also for those over 40, the benefits decrease, or are non-beneficial.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Recently the General Secretary of the IAEA stated "Fukushima was now behind us" and since the nuclear disaster, safety at the world's nuclear reactors had been improved. Then along comes a leaked document on the safety standards of the EU's 145 nuclear reactors. Two reactors in Finland would have meltdowns after 60 minutes if they loss mains power. It will cost 25 billion Euro's to update the safety levels. 47 nuclear power plants with 111 reactors have more than 100,000 inhabitants living within a circle of 30km.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19804817

0 ( +4 / -4 )

More than half, or more than 50% if the world's nuclear reactors don't have the necessary safety standards or don't meet the international standards which is something the IAEA are constantly white washing over. A scan and a scandal for sure!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Lets see less "I hate nuclear, because it's bad in Europe" and more "iodine is good/bad in this situation". Everyone already knows your stance on nuclear, lets hear your stance on the need/stupidity of potassium iodide in untrained hands.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Two reactors in Finland would have meltdowns after 60 minutes if they loss mains power.

Well no. Olkiluoto 1 and 2 would have core meltdowns if they would loss main power and gas and diesel power backups. The propability for this is 0.001%. Even if that would happen, it wouldn't be such a big deal, because after Tsernobyl the old reactor halls have been reinforced to cope core meltdown. It took 15 years to build improvements and the work finished 2003. There aren't such a improvements elsewhere in the world.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Basroil,

Lets see lees, "I love nuclear so much that I can see no fault with it"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh and my stance on Iodine.

They told us that Japanese people didn't need iodine because of their diet. But now they want to distribute it? Guess they were lying? Wonder if they lied about anything else?

I grew up close to a NPP, and iodine tablets were kept in every home within a certain radius. Residents where instructed not to use them until instructed over emergency information systems. In addition most table salt sold in stores was enriched with iodine. Seems like the logical solution to me. Distributing iodine during during the chaos of the next big disaster will never work.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well now we know how long it takes them to react to a disaster.

........ unless they are preparing for the collapse of fuel pool #4. If that happens though, I think they will need something more than iodine tablets to help them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I ordered some from an online pharmacy in April after the disaster...they were stopped at customs until I went through a bunch of hoops to get a few strips of the ones I had bought.

Sorry, we don't need foreign help, foreign expertise, or foreign medicines to counter our radioactive problems, thank you very much! lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

An absolutely stupid idea, as anyone who informed himself about iodine pills know. These things are not a miracle cure for everybody, and in fact for most adults they do more harm than good. The are to be taken only by those who need them, and in the proper dose. Distributing them nilly willy will simply lead people to take them in at the wrong time at the wrong dose.

It would be much better to try to keep population density close to the plants as low as possible, and have good evacuation plans in place.

This pill distribution scheme is more stupid political misguided activism.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

zichi:

" More than half, or more than 50% if the world's nuclear reactors don't have the necessary safety standards "

And the JapanToday crowd is only interested in shutting down the nuclear industry in the one country where you can be sure that standards will be maintained, especially after the wake-up call from last year... Japan.

Just brilliant.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Zichi:

" Two reactors in Finland would have meltdowns after 60 minutes if they loss mains power "

The article that you link to says nothing like that at all. You just pulled that out of god knows where, but still pretend that it comes from an article at BBC world news.

Do ever wonder if people actually follow the links that you post and compare them to your wild claims?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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