Delaware residents near nuclear plants urged to take tablets

In the next few days, residents who live within a ten mile radius of the Salem/Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations will have access to some precautionary pills that are usually given out during a radiation emergency.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency and Delaware Division of Public Health will distribute potassium iodide also known as KI tablets.  The pills are believed to help protect the thyroid gland from ingested or inhaled radioactive iodine possibly released in a radiation emergency. Officials say the medicine does not protect against external radiation.  If you take a look at Delaware’s emergency plans developed for use in a nuclear incident, you’ll notice KI tablets are listed as one of the precautions residents should take along with evacuation.

Delaware received the tablets due to its participation in a program led by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The pills are only being distributed in the event of an emergency related to radiation. If that happens, emergency officials will inform residents in those areas through messages on Emergency Action System radio stations. When the emergency messages are aired they will include instructions on how residents should react, directions to evacuation routes, emergency reception centers, and also when to take the KI tablets.

In the meantime, the precautionary pills will be distributed next week on October 11th at the Townsend Fire Station.  They’re also available to residents who live outside the 10 mile radius area and those who currently want to get rid of their expired KI tablets.  Delaware Emergency Management Agency Radiological Emergency Planning section can be reached for more information about the tablets at 302-659-3362.

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