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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 21 May 2022

Remember iodine tablets? You won't be getting them again

But only because there threat of nuclear annihilation has receded. Yay.

Image: Francis Tyers/Wikimedia

THE DEPARTMENT OF Health won’t be reissuing iodine tablets.

Homes across the country were sent the tablets in 2002 in case of a nuclear emergency, with a particular focus on the Calder Hall (Sellafield) and Chapelcross reactors in the UK.

Iodine tablets are designed to counteract radioactive iodine.

They were issued across Ireland amid fears of a terrorist attack on the Sellafield site, which is just 180 kilometres from the Louth coast.

The 2002 batch – 14.2million tablets at a cost of €630,000 – expired in 2005.

They will not be getting replaced, the Department says, because the threat of a nuclear meltdown has receded and taking them wouldn’t do anything, anyway.

The threat of an accident at a nuclear facility abroad involving the release of a large quantity of radio-iodine has very much receded in recent years.
The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) carried out a detailed analysis of different accident scenarios and concluded that, even in a worst case scenario, the use of iodine tablets would not be justified in Ireland. Given the above the Department does not propose to reissue iodine tablets.

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The RPPI report found that at the Wylfa plant in Wales, the closest active plant to Ireland, only residents closer that three kilometres were given the tablets. It is 114km from Ireland.

So if not consuming a decade-expired tablet, what should you do? The EPA says you should go indoors, stay there and turn on your TV or radio to be kept informed.

Staying indoors if advised and avoiding contaminated foodstuffs after the emergency has subsidised, are by far the most effective ways of reducing your radiation dose from all radioactive materials.

Which is handy to know.

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