The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has stated the radiation protection pills will be pre-distributed to people and businesses that are near nuclear plants.
The precautionary measure has finally been agreed upon following fierce pressure from environmental groups (such as Canadian Environmental Law Association and Greenpeace) after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster happened in Japan – devastating the lives of people living in the area around it.
The pills contain potassium iodide which help prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing radiation.
Nuclear operators in Canada will be required to pre-distribute the pills to “all residences, businesses and institutions” in nearby areas where the plume from a radiation release would likely reach.
According to the regulation, the radius of the area varies, however it is typically sized between 8 to 16 km.
The Pickering nuclear plant will likely be pre-distributing the pills from eastern Scarborough to Whitby.
For a larger zone (between 50 to 80 km) nuclear plants have to have a stock of pills ready for immediate distribution and “located so that it can be efficiently obtained by, or distributed to, members of the public when required.”
Michael Binder, the president of the commission, said:
“Since the Fukushima accident, the CNSC has updated its requirements to further enhance nuclear safety and ensure that licensees and Canadians are thoroughly prepared to respond to any scenario.”
“The pre-distribution of KI (potassium iodide) pills are just one of the many requirements established to protect people in the event of a nuclear emergency, no matter how improbable.”