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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Iodine distributed to residents near nuclear plant

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Government officials in communities near the off-line Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture have distributed iodine tablets to residents. Preparations are underway to restart the plant.

A disaster preparedness plan developed by Kagoshima Prefecture says about 4,700 people aged 3 or older living within 5 kilometers of the Sendai plant should take iodine tablets in the event of a nuclear accident. Iodine helps prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive substances.

The governments of Kagoshima Prefecture and Sendai City distributed iodine tablets to 2,661 people on Sunday.

Residents were given permission to take the medicine after consulting with a doctor as iodine can cause side effects.

Residents visiting a facility in Sendai City received background information about iodine from a pharmacist before being given the medicine.

A 64-year-old man said he feels reassured because the medicine is being distributed in advance. He said he won't need to take it unless there's an accident at the plant, so he hopes there won't be one.

This is the first time iodine is being distributed under new safety guidelines drawn up by Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Prefectural and municipal authorities are planning to distribute iodine to other residents after holding a public meeting on the matter in September or later.
Jul. 27, 2014 - Updated 04:57 UTC
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