Iodine pills to be given to teenagers living near Belgian reactor

The nuclear plant at Doel. Photo: Torsade de Pointes via Wikimedia Commons

More than a million iodine tablets are being handed out to people in North Brabant who live within a 100km radius of a Belgian nuclear power plant.

The tablets protect people from radioactive fall-out in the event of a nuclear accident or leak. Younger people who are exposed to radioactive iodine are at greater risk of developing thyroid cancer.

Until now the pills have been given to anyone under 40 living within 20km of the reactor in Doel, across the border in Belgium, but since Friday the coverage has been extended to include anyone under 18 who lives up to 100km from the plant.

Older people are not given free pills because their chance of developing cancer is lower. However, pregnant women can obtain supplies from their local pharmacy for €2.95.

The Dutch government has set up a web page where residents can type in their age and postcode to see if they are eligible for iodine tablets. Click here to check if you are included.