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What will happen in Greece if Chernobyl radiation leaked? Atomic Energy Commission warns of iodine pills

Greece’s Atomic Energy Commission (EEAE) appears reassuring regarding a possible radiation leak from the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine and a risk for Greece. In an announcement the EEAE points out that the competent Greek authorities have recently drawn up a new, fully revised national emergency plan in the event of a serious accident at a nuclear facility abroad.

According to a statement, Chernobyl is far away and in no case it is necessary to take more drastic measures, such as evacuation of the population or the administration of iodine pills.

In statements the Ukraine Atomic Energy Authority and FM Dmytro Kuleba warned of power outrage in Chernobyl by the occupying Russian forces stressing that the diesel generators cooling the system would operate for 48 hours. FM stressed that after this period, the cooling systems will stop and radiation leaks would be imminent.

Both the EEAE and pharmacists in Greece have been warning of the use of iodine pills as “preventative measure” as concerned Greeks sought to purchase such pills.

Note that pills containing iodine are available in the country only as supplements. They are sold over the counter and contain the chemical compound potassium iodide.

Iodine pills are shown to be useful in preventing thyroid cancer caused by radioactive iodine 131, however, they can have serious side effects and should always be administered with doctor’s advice.

The EEAE statement

“It is a fact that the security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine is threatened in the midst of war. The Hellenic Atomic Energy Commission (EEAE) is actively and continuously monitoring the situation in Ukraine regarding nuclear safety. To date, based on the most reliable data available, the state of environmental radioactivity in Ukraine as well as in all its neighboring countries is reported to be normal.

Regarding the possible consequences in our country, in the unfortunate case of a radiation or nuclear incident in Ukraine, it is stressed that, due to the great distance, a state of danger can not be caused in Greece that would require urgent measures to protect life or health from radiation. .

It is recalled that the EEAE in coordination with the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, has recently drawn up a new, fully revised national emergency plan for the case of a serious accident at a nuclear facility abroad.

According to the most up-to-date scientific data, on the basis of which this plan was developed, the possible response measures for the case of such an incident include an extensive program of controls on food and feed and, as a maximum, possible restriction on the consumption of specific locally produced species. Under no circumstances should more drastic measures be necessary, such as evacuating the population or administering iodine pills.

Especially with regard to the latter, EEAE states explicitly and unequivocally that in no case it will become necessary to administer iodine pills in Greece and there is absolutely no reason to supply iodine tablets “preventative” and for “just in case”.

It is noted that these tablets are a drug whose arbitrary use without medical justification can have serious side effects. Iodine administration in the event of a nuclear accident affects only the population directly affected, near the accident site, where the prescribed dose of radioactivity to the thyroid gland is above a certain level.

“This protection measure does not in any way concern areas that are hundreds of kilometers away, such as our country,” the EEAE said.

Citing the guidelines of the European Radiological Protection Competent Authorities (HERCA) and of the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA), the EEAE recalls that the preventive administration of iodine pills could be recommended to population living at a distance of 20 km to 100 km from the nuclear plant, depending on the seriousness of the accident.

And this is not the case with the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine.

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