State to give pills to people living near nuclear plants

Kickaha

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ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 18, 2002

SAN CLEMENTE – State officials plan to give potassium iodide tablets to more than 400,000 people living within 10 miles of two nuclear power plants that could protect the public if they are exposed to radiation.

Pills will be given to 421,000 residents in northern San Diego County and southern Orange County who live near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. About 22,000 residents who live near Diablo Canyon power plant in San Luis Obispo County also will receive the pills.

The move comes six months after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission offered the pills to 34 states with nuclear power reactors. Only 11 states have passed out the pills to residents, while officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania have requested them.

Officials said the preventive measures were given more consideration following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Although there have been no specific threats against any of the nation's 103 nuclear plants, federal officials realize an attack or an accident could spread radioactive contamination over wide areas.

Southern California Edison, which owns San Onofre's two working 1,120-megawatt reactors, maintains that the plant is adequately protected.

A study conducted 20 years ago showed that if the dome on one of San Onofre's two reactors broke, it could result in 27,000 deaths within the year, and another 18,000 over the long-term.

Potassium iodide pills do not protect people from all types of radiation poisoning. However, it can protect the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine if taken in the first four hours of exposure.

San Luis Obispo residents argue that the 10-mile radius for distribution of the pills should be expanded.

"You can't draw a line and say people on one side of the street get it and people on the other side of the street do not," said Shirley Bianchi, a county supervisor who represents the communities north of Diablo Canyon.

San Luis Obispo County proposes that the pills be given to 143,000 permanent residents, as well as 85,000 coastal visitors on peak summer weekends.
 

Brad

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I live within 20 miles of Indian Point,plant in NY. Yeh, they got the pill here too but you just get one *L* . And what good will it do anyway? It's just political BS.
 

stickman

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I'm in the area that's supposed to get the pill. From what I've been hearing it really doesn't do anything. If we got a nuclear power plant blowing up, thyroid cancer is the least of my concerns.
 

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