Ohioans living near nuclear plants to receive pills
recommending anti-radiation pill
The Associated Press
— Ohio health officials say they will meet with local
leaders and residents of communities near power plants before
distributing pills that are supposed to offer some protection
against radiation release.
The state, which is
recommending free potassium iodide pills be supplied to about
200,000 people who live within 10 miles of nuclear power
plants, will hold meetings over the next few weeks near the
Davis-Besse plant in Port Clinton, the Perry plant in North
Perry and the Beaver Valley plant in western Pennsylvania.
FirstEnergy Corp., which owns
the plants, has said any radiation release is unlikely.
The pills, which can be
obtained through the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, stop
the thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine, which can
guard against thyroid cancer and other diseases that could
result from radiation exposure.
Each person would receive two
tablets, which don't guard against all types of radiation.
Jay Carey, an Ohio Health
Department spokesman, said some logistical problems must be
worked out before the pills could be distributed in Ohio.
Officials will discuss whether
to give out the pills before an accident or at special
distribution centers set up after a radiation release. They
also will have to figure out how to persuade people that the
pills are not a substitute for evacuation.
So far, nine other states have
taken up the NRC's offer to distribute the pills. Some states
were prompted by concerns of increased vulnerability of
nuclear plants after the Sept. 11 attacks.
About half the NRC's supply of
7 million pills will be distributed to New York,
Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, Florida,
Connecticut, Alabama and Arizona, said Patricia Milligan, an
emergency planning specialist at the NRC. The agency is
spending $1.2 million for the pills.
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