Jensen said there is “already a stockpile and certainly enough to cover the entire population for three days in the event of a release of radioactive iodine from the nuclear plant in Michigan.”
Dan Metcalfe, Essex County’s Emergency Management Coordinator, said “there was a supply of those pills stored in the area.”
He said that currently the province and federal government “are reviewing the KI (potassium iodide) pill distribution.
“That’s probably going to be coming out in 2017, a new strategy to deliver those pills to the public within the primary zone.”
The primary zone is Amherstburg, he said, and authorities are “looking at how they’re going to distribute the pills.”
An American anti-nuclear activist thought the pills had already been distributed to Canadians and was calling on the state of Michigan and DTE Energy, which operates Fermi II, to make available KI pills to the U.S. public within a 10-mile radius of the plant.
“Hopefully, DTE and the State of Michigan distribute potassium iodide to every household within the emergency planning zone like Canada is doing,” Jessie Collins of Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi II, was quoted as saying in the Toledo Blade newspaper in late November.
Her group was commenting in light of DTE seeking a license renewal for the plant, which the activists opposed.
Their hope to delay the renewal only succeeded briefly as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the extension in mid-December.
Reached by WON.com, Collins was surprised no pills had been distributed on this side of the border.
“It passed last summer and they were supposed to start mailing them first of December,” she said. “So that didn’t happen?”
Potassium iodide – available in tablet or liquid form - can help prevent the thyroid, the gland most sensitive to radioactive iodine, from being injured by radiation.
The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says KI should only be taken on advice of public health or emergency management officials.
There are also health risks associated with taking KI, it says.
The thyroid gland of infants, children, and people under 40 are most at risk for radioactive damage.
Graphic: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention