LAUSANNE In tune with Switzerland’s prevention culture, people living within a 50 km radius of a nuclear plant will now receive iodide tablets to counter the possible effects of nuclear disaster. The majority of people inhabiting the Bern, Fribourg, Neuchâtel and Jura cantons will receive the pills. The measure will also concern a substantial proportion of the Vaud population. Prior to this week’s federal resolution, only those living in a 20 km radius of nuclear plants received the pills. If taken correctly, these tablets, due to be introduced next autumn, will help prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, a consequence that may lead to cancer.
Japan’s Fukushima nuclear incident served as a warning to governments and inhabitants alike of the immediate and long-term dangers of civilian nuclear power. The distribution of tablets to approximately 4.6 million people will cost Switzerland’s nuclear plant groups an estimated CHF 30 million. The purpose of this measure is both to reassure and to act as a preventative health measure.