Nuclear medicine

The researches find that the German authorities are increasing their stockpile of iodine tablets as a precaution for the possibility of a nuclear incident. Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection confirmed Thursday it has ordered 189.5 million iodine tablets “to ensure a safe and widespread distribution in case of a radiological or nuclear emergency.” Public broadcaster WDR, which first reported the story, said the amount ordered is almost four times the current stockpile.

Possibility of a nuclear incident

After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan, Germany revised its guidelines for handling problems at nuclear power plants. While Germany plans to phase out all of its nuclear plants by 2022; several neighboring countries including Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic continue to operate nuclear reactors. Iodine tablets can help reduce instances of thyroid cancer if taken soon after a nuclear incident. Radioactive iodines are produce during the operation of nuclear power plants and during the detonation of nuclear weapons.

In the event of a radiation incident, radioiodine is one of the contaminants that could be released into the environment. Exposure to radioiodine can lead to radiation injury to the thyroid, including thyroid cancer. Radiation to the thyroid from radioiodine limit by taking a nonradioactive iodine (stable iodine) such as potassium iodide. This book assesses strategies for the distribution and administration of potassium iodide (KI) in the event of a nuclear incident.

Administration of potassium iodide

The report says that potassium iodide pills should be available to everyone age 40 or younger especially children and pregnant and lactating women living near a nuclear power plant. States and municipalities should decide how to stockpile; distribute, and administer potassium iodide tablets, and federal agencies should keep a backup supply of tablets and be prepared to distribute them to affected areas. nuclear accident will become increasingly difficult to maintain once the data starts to roll in.

That’s the lesson of a team of scientists who showed last month  days before the Aug. 8 explosion that killed five Russians — that “a sizeable; yet undeclared nuclear accident” had occurred two years earlier in Russia; possibly from a nuclear-fuel facility once used to manufacture plutonium for weapons. In a report for the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published July 26, the team reconstructed data to demonstrate why it’s becoming harder to suppress information about nuclear accidents. New radiation-detection networks; satellite constellations and even social-media streams all help to open novel pathways to pry into states’ most closely held secrets. “Here we see the powerful nature of an independent, science-based network;” said Georg Steinhauser, one of the report’s lead authors.