The Strategist

Citizens of Belgium will be given anti-radiation pills

04/29/2016 - 17:39

The Belgian Government decided to distribute pills with a high content of iodine among the country's population to protect them against radiation. The decision is coming into force from the beginning of 2017.

Previously, the preventive pills distribution zone was 20 km around the A-plant. Now, it will be increased to a distance of 100 km, said Belgian Minister of Health Maggie De Block. Given the location of nuclear power plants in the country, the danger zone spans all 11 million citizens of Belgium.

The iodine pills are designed to protect the thyroid gland, which suffers from environmental contamination with radionuclides.

Belgian government's decision was taken in the course of discussions on the Japanese nuclear power plant "Fukushima", where an accident due to the earthquake occurred in 2011. There are seven nuclear reactors at two nuclear power plants operating in Belgium: in the village Doel (near Antwerp) in the north and in the town of Tihange (near Liege) in the south of the country. There’s also one more reactor in the Nuclear Research Centre in the town of Mol.

Adjacent Holland, Luxembourg and Germany appealed to Brussels with the requirement to suspend the nuclear reactors as failures were marked there. In particular, Minister of Environment of Germany Barbara Hendricks called on Belgium to temporarily suspend the operation of one of Doel’s nuclear reactors and the unit in Tihange, until the Belgian authorities provide evidence of their safety. Brussels responded with a refusal.

The work of the nuclear power plant had been already suspended in 2012, when a crack appeared on the reactor’s walls.

Head of the Belgian "Green Party" Jean-Marc Nollet upheld the government’s decision to distribute the pills to the population, but stressed that it is still an insufficient measure to protect people from the possible effects of radiation. 


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