People and schools poorly informed about iodine tablets

A VRT poll has revealed that residents living close to a nuclear plant and schools in the area are not well so informed about the use of iodine tablets. These can yield crucial protection in the case of a nuclear accident or disaster.

The nuclear watchdog FANC called on the government to administer iodine tablets to the whole population in Belgium, instead of just the people living in a 20 kilometre perimeter from a nuclear plant, earlier this week. Belgium is a small country and has two nuclear sites: in Antwerp and near Liège. If something should go wrong, the whole population could be affected.

The knowledge of iodine tablets is poor, it turns out. Many people don't know where to get them (they can collect them for free in the drugstore if they live within 20 km from a nuclear plant), while 3 out of 25 schools didn't have any pills in stock. Schools are paying too little attention to the issue, but still the pills can be very useful if a nuclear accident would produce. They can protect the thyroid gland from the effects of radioactive radiation.

Lodewijk Van Bladel of the FANC is not surprised by the news, but is disappointed. Children are particularly vulnerable when a nuclear accident occurs, he says. Information campaigns about nuclear accidents are taking place every 5 years.