Measures for Prevention and Protection
In excess of 50% of the effective radiation dose of the radioactive fallout of a crashed nuclear power plant consists of iodine 131. The radioactive isotope will be enriched in the thyroid gland where it will eventually induce cancer of the organ. We can effectively protect ourselves against the incorporation of radioactive iodine by a timely application of iodine pills. By overdosing iodine we can prevent radiation-induced cancer of the thyroid gland nearly completely.
- Iodine pills are sold in pharmacies without prescription.
- Persons at an age above 45 years should, in advance of applying iodine pills, consult their family doctors to make sure whether they don't suffer problems with their thyroid gland. For those who do alternative drugs are available.
- The information about the upcoming of a radioactive cloud must be made public at least three to six hours in advance since this is the lead time for iodine pills to unfold its effect.
- The application of iodine after the appearance of the radioactive cloud can even be harmful.
- Every household, every kindergarten, every school and every university should keep a sufficient stock of iodine pills to be prepared for the immediate distribution in the event of nuclear accident.
Similarly breathing mask of the FFP3 type should be stocked. They serve for the protection against radioactive particles in the inhaled air by removing particles up to 95%.
Even in case of a severe accident of the Tihange power plant nobody in Aachen and its vicinity will suffer of acute radiation sickness since the radiation dose will not exceed the critical level.
In particular we should protect ourselves against the inhalation and swallowing of radioactive particles since those will be deposited inside or close to cells eventually converting those into cancer cells.
It will be dangerous to leave a contaminated region in a hurry since most likely the intake of radioactive particles will be far more intensive than with staying at home and waiting for the passing-by of the radioactive cloud.