The entire population of Belgium, about 11 million people, will receive iodine tablets, designed to protect the thyroid from radiation in the event of an accident at a nuclear plant (due to breakdowns; the risk of terrorism is not mentioned).
The decision was announced a few days ago by the Minister of Health, Maggie De Block. So far, the iodine tablets, a measure considered negligible by opponents of nuclear power, were distributed only in a radius of 20 km around the nuclear power plants. The minister has responded to the alarm growing around the plants of Tihange and Doel, and the nuclear research facilities of Fleurus and Mol. Iodine tablets will also be distributed at Chooz, France, and Borssele in the Netherlands, towns near the Belgian border, within 100 km from a nuclear power plant.
The alarm around the conditions of Belgium’s nuclear power plants grew when Germany and Luxembourg asked Brussels for the provisional shutdown of the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors, where worrying fissures were found. A few weeks ago, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland made similar requests to France. Even in France, iodine pills are distributed around the 19 nuclear power plants (with 58 reactors), but only within a 10 km radius.