All Belgians to get iodine pills in case of nuclear accident: report

April 28, 2016

Belgium is to provide iodine pills to its entire population of around 11 million people to protect against radioactivity in case of a nuclear accident, the health minister was quoted as saying Thursday.

The move comes as Belgium faces growing pressure from neighbouring Germany to shutter two ageing near their border due to concerns over their .

Iodine pills, which help reduce radiation build-up in the human thyroid gland, had previously only been given to people living within 20 kilometres (14 miles) of the Tihange and Doel nuclear plants.

Health Minister Maggie De Block was quoted by La Libre Belgique newspaper as telling parliament that the range had now been expanded to 100 kilometres, effectively covering the whole country.

The health ministry did not immediately respond to AFP when asked to comment.

The head of Belgium's French-speaking Green party, Jean-Marc Nollet, backed the measures but added that "just because everyone will get these pills doesn't mean there is no longer any nuclear risk," La Libre reported.

Belgium's creaking nuclear plants have been causing safety concerns for some time after a series of problems ranging from leaks to cracks and an unsolved sabotage incident.

Last week Germany asked that the 40-year-old Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors be turned off "until the resolution of outstanding security issues".

The reactor pressure vessels at both sites have shown signs of metal degradation, raising fears about their safety. They were temporarily closed but resumed service last December.

Belgium's official nuclear safety agency (AFCN) rejected the German request, saying the two plants "respond to the strictest possible safety requirements."

Explore further: Germany asks Belgium to shut two old nuclear plants

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WillieWard
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 28, 2016
If "coal has even higher emissions of radioactive material compared to nuclear power"
and Germany is burning a lot of coal to compensate wind/solar intermittency,
then Germany should distribute iodine pills for entire Europe.
http://www.scient...r-waste/
https://www.desta...ion.html

antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 28, 2016
All Belgians to get iodine pills in case of nuclear accident: report

Ooookay?

Let's look a bit at how iodine pills work to put this in perspective.

Iodine is concentrated by the thyroid gland. A nuclear accident can release radioactive iodine isotopes. An iodine pill is not a magic "anti-nuclear pill" (or RadAway for you Fallout freaks). It simply massively oversaturates the thyroid gland so that it doesn't collect any additional iodine

....well..until the effect wears off (which is shortly). Then you're back to square one. Either you keep taking these pills until the level of radioactive iodine in the environment falls to acceptable levels or you takeup radioactive iodine

Note: the radioactive iodine is still in your body even if you take the pill. You swallow/breathe it...it glows warmly in your intestines/lungs...whatever. It's not 'gone'.

Note also that constantly, massively overdosing yourself on iodine isn't exactly a healthy thing in its own right.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 28, 2016
Here is another reason to abandon dangerous nukes:

http://www.bbc.co...36158606
"German nuclear plant hit by computer viruses"

Would not it be easier to just close that dangerous plant?
WillieWard
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 28, 2016
hit by computer viruses
Gosh next is radioactive viruses in everywhere creating mutant Godzilla that will kill all of us.
http://i500.lista...full.jpg
http://henrymakow...fear.jpg
WillieWard
2 / 5 (6) Apr 28, 2016
Would not it be easier to just close that dangerous plant?
Very easy, and then replace it by a mix of coal plants and eco-friendly bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers as Germans already have done.
gkam
2 / 5 (8) Apr 28, 2016
They need Willie at Fukushima.
Lord_jag
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 30, 2016
Love eco-friendly bird choppers. Those are awesome.

Not as awesome as a mushroom cloud, but still pretty cool.
Edenlegaia
5 / 5 (3) May 01, 2016
Would not it be easier to just close that dangerous plant?
Very easy, and then replace it by a mix of coal plants and eco-friendly bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers as Germans already have done.


You're overdoing it as much as gkam. Renewable energy can be made without landscape foiling and bird slaying. And coal plants? Really? Certainly not the traditional ones at least.
gkam
2.5 / 5 (8) May 01, 2016
You're being as silly as Willie, if you think I am overdoing it.
Eikka
4.5 / 5 (2) May 02, 2016
....well..until the effect wears off (which is shortly). Then you're back to square one. Either you keep taking these pills until the level of radioactive iodine in the environment falls to acceptable levels or you takeup radioactive iodine

Note: the radioactive iodine is still in your body even if you take the pill. You swallow/breathe it...it glows warmly in your intestines/lungs...whatever. It's not 'gone'.


The half-life of the radioactive iodine is about 8 days, and your kidneys get rid of the excess iodine through urine. It is effectively going to be gone in a couple days time, at least from you.

Of course some trace amount persists for a long time - the point of the iodine pill is to guard against heavy exposure right after the accident when the smoke is still blowing around. You get most of it by breathing.

After the dust settles, the environmental exposure goes down, and ideally you would be evacuated from the affected area.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) May 02, 2016
Of course, in addition to iodine pills they should hand out respirator masks. Even the cheap paper ones would reduce intake over the population, with the iodine helping with what leaks past the respirator.

The problem with the Belgian plants is that they haven't installed the blowout filters that everyone else did after Fukushima. If there's an accident and the reactor needs to vent pressure, it's going straight in the air.

Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) May 02, 2016
Renewable energy can be made without landscape foiling and bird slaying.


The question is: how much?

People aren't really aware of exactly how much energy our societies really use, because it's hidden in various ways. For example, your gas meter reads BTU or cubic meters instead of kWh so people don't see the relative amount they use for heating vs. electric appliances.

As a coarse average over the world, the total energy use is about five times the size of the electric grid, so when you're talking about say 25% of renewables in the grid, you're actually talking about 5% renewable energy overall.

There's still so much way to go and people just can't wrap their heads around how absolutely massive the effort is going to be. Take all the renewables you see around today and multiply that by at least 100x and you're getting closer.

Would that be practically possible?
Edenlegaia
5 / 5 (2) May 03, 2016
Well, it's true current technologies seem hardly mature enough to give energy to the world, the way it uses it. Reducing energy consumption comes as well as a primordium. As for the rest.....i don't think we'll have a "Renewable energy functionning world" soon. Some of us can eventually, if they can afford it, buy solar panels or/and mini "bird choppers" (energy AND meat in one? Let's say yes.) to "lead the way". The others can wait for cheaper times, or eventually sell their organs or children to join the move.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) May 03, 2016
"The others can wait for cheaper times, or eventually sell their organs or children to join the move."
--------------------------------------

Oh stop it! Wind and solar PV are much cheaper than nukes and most other forms of generation now. You can take out a loan for the PV system, and pay less than you do now for power, like some of my relatives and neighbors, or you can use savings, like we did.

It is an investment, with a good payback. I see gasoline is up again, and our EV runs on sunshine, the stuff which would normally make your house hot in the Summer.

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