More than 420 thousand Slovaks received iodine tablets

More than 420 thousand Slovaks received iodine tablets
Slovenské elektrárne provided for potassium iodide tablets distributed by the municipalities near Bohunice and Mochovce nuclear power plants.

Although the Slovak nuclear power plants are very safe according to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic, Slovenské elektrárne prepares in a consistent manner to manage any critical situation. Potassium iodine is one of the special, individual protection tools. It is dedicated not only to employees from power plant but also to inhabitants in 20 km radius in Bohunice and Mochove that is the emergency zone.

Last time the tablets were distributed in 2012; the replacement was needed after expiry of the 5 year shelf life. "Life, health and safety of employees and people nearby are the highest priority and primary value for us in Slovenské elektrárne," says Jozef Tomek who is the nuclear safety manager at Slovenské elektrárne.

Local municipalities distributed the iodine prophylaxis. The citizens from the vicinity of the nuclear stations returned old unused packs and took new ones in their local municipal offices.

 "Distribution was flawless, the citizens knew about it and they perceived it positively," added Ladislav Éhn, the Mayor of Kalná nad Hronom which is about 10 km from Mochovce. "It´s like a prevention in case of a car accident. You´ve got your first-aid kit box in your car but we strongly believe that we will never use it. A citizen perceives that when the competent authorities give such an order he will take the tablet."

Do not take the tablets arbitrarily

The company supplied half a million packages of the potassium iodide tablets in total to Bohunice and Mochovce sites. Each package contains six tablets, three doses for an adult. “The tablets are taken in case of a nuclear event when it is announced by the competent state authority”, Radovan Minarčík, Head of the emergency readiness and environment from Safety dpt. in Bohunice, underlines.

If you wish to best protect yourself during a radiation event, it is necessary to take the tablet as soon as possible; within two hours of the information on released radioactive iodine; it is the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic to decide about it.

"In case of a nuclear event, read carefully the municipality´s announcements, news of the public media, and respect the official information. People giving orders for citizens can describe exactly how the situation evolves in terms of the radiation threat to the population and also when it is needed to declare iodine prophylaxis."

Oto Lúdl
Head of the emergency readiness, Mochovce NPP

Do not take the tablets arbitrarily! Do not hesitate with taking the iodine tablet in case of an accident; it is useless after 12 hours from the exposure. “If the radioactive release continue, take another two tablets after 24 hours from the first dose”, Minarčík explains.

Why exactly potassium iodide?

In case of a radiation event or an accident in a nuclear facility, the iodine 131 isotope may release into environment and it deposits right in the thyroid gland. “We can prevent it taking the potassium iodine tablets. When the thyroid gland is saturated with non-active iodine, it will not allow the radioactive iodine 131 to accumulate there”, Boris Remenec, Head of the radioactive protection at NPP Bohunice, explains. If you are allergic to potassium iodine or to its component, the food supplements with high natural iodine content may help you.

What is the thyroid gland?

Thyroid gland belongs among bigger endocrine glands in human body. It is located in your neck; it produces hormones which regulate metabolism and growth. The iodine is crucial for production of these hormones therefore it is significant for our health. Normally we can find iodised salt or iodised flour.