Power plant neighbours get safety pills

ANTI-RADIATION pills are to be handed out tonight to residents living closest to the Sizewell nuclear site.Meanwhile a debate continues over whether more people should be issued with the medication for emergency use.

ANTI-RADIATION pills are to be handed out tonight to residents living closest to the Sizewell nuclear site.

Meanwhile a debate continues over whether more people should be issued with the medication for emergency use.

District nurses and a pharmacist will preside over the first of two sessions for people living or working within a 1.5 mile radius of the site – the official emergency planning zone.

But anti-nuclear campaigners and some residents living outside the zone believe they should also be issued with the pills, which help prevent the absorption of radioactive iodine into the thyroid gland.


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Distribution of the tablets comes after years of debate over the wisdom of plans to hand them out in the immediate aftermath of an accident involving a major release of radioactivity.

The pills were already pre-distributed around the Hinkley Point plant in Somerset, the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria and nuclear power stations in France

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About 180 households have received letters from the Suffolk Coastal NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT) inviting occupants to attend one of two sessions where they can obtain the anti-radiation pills, tonight and on the evening of September 4.

District nurses and a pharmacist will be available to give people advice on the taking of the medication, including the correct dose for infants and older children.

Residents and permanent employees of businesses in the zone will have to take the letters with them in order to get the pills, from a small marquee in the grounds of the Sizewell Sports and Social Club.

Sue Lawrence, prescribing adviser for the Suffolk Coastal PCT, said that as a pharmacist she was very pleased that the local authority had decided not to distribute the pills directly to homes.

"Pushing things like this through letter boxes is not a very professional way of doing things," she added.

Jack Broom, who lives less than half a mile from the power plant, said he intended to collect pills for himself, his wife and three children.

"I'm not sure there'll do a lot of good because an accident is likely to be well on its way before we know about it," he said.

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said while he welcomed the move to try to protect people closest to the nuclear site the extent of the distribution zone was totally inadequate.

"Have they not heard of Chernobyl where the radioactive cloud passed over thousands of miles," he said.

Mr Barnett, who lives at Dunwich, said the parish meeting there had unanimously agreed to request an extension of the emergency planning zone and pre-distribution of the anti-radiation pills.

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