Free iodine pills for nuclear plant neighbors

Japan’s government has started distributing iodine tablets to residents living near an idled nuclear plant in southern Japan.

Reactor 1 at the Satsumasendai Nuclear Plant will likely be restarted within the year.

The pills are a pre-emptive measure to protect residents in the event of a nuclear disaster, as iodine stops the thyroid from absorbing radiation.

This is the first time the pills are distributed in Japan upon the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s directive.

4700 people over the age of three living within a five-kilometer radius of the plant are eligible to receive the pills. Public health workers and pharmacists have already distributed the pills to 2700 residents.

Some of these residents said they were relieved to have an emergency measure on hand. Others said they wished there was no need to have the pills in the first place.