News & CommentRadiation Protection

France Distributes Iodine Near Reactors

Science  28 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5308, pp. 1871-1872
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5308.1871b

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Summary

PARIS—French Health Minister Hervé Gaymard has announced that local authorities will begin distributing potassium iodide tablets to everyone living within 10 kilometers of 24 nuclear installations. In the event of a nuclear accident, the residents would take the tablets to block the uptake of radioactive iodine isotopes, byproducts of nuclear fission that could cause thyroid cancer. The decision in France has sparked considerable interest among radiation scientists in other countries, particularly the United States, where stable iodine is not generally made available to the public.

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