Fukushima, Fermi, Potassium Iodide and You

Speaker:  Keith Gunter, Alliance to Halt Fermi 3 Co-Chair, will discuss the dangers of nuclear power in general and the Fermi 2 (existing) & Fermi 3 (planned) reactors in particular on Thursday, March 3 at the Elks Lodge, 2401 E. 4th St., Royal Oak, MI (at corner of 4th St. & SB I-75 Service Drive, South of 11 Mile Rd.). This is the regular Sierra Club SEMG Membership meeting, 1st Thursday, monthly. It’s open to the public; any interested person can attend.

6:30-7:00 Snacks, socializing
7:00-7:10 Announcements
7:10 Presentation

Potassium iodide (chemical symbol KI) tablets, if taken promptly, can prevent radioactive iodine-131 gases released in a nuclear plant emergency from being absorbed by the thyroid gland. In other words, they protect against development of thyroid cancer. Children, pregnant women and lactating mothers are particularly at risk for developing thyroid cancer from exposure to iodine-131.

In order for these pills to be taken in a timely and effective fashion, they should be in the medicine cabinet of every household, plus they should be stocked at schools, hospitals, etc. in the zone that will be exposed to iodine-131 in case of a catastrophic meltdown.

potassium iodide pills

In October 2015, Beyond Nuclear and Alliance to Halt Fermi 3 launched a public information campaign aimed at changing the existing KI tablet distribution plan. The existing plan is to mail vouchers for KI pills to all residents living within 10 miles of a nuclear reactor. According to a 2012 American medical Association study, only 5.3% of Monroe, Michigan area residents (in the danger zone for DTE’s Fermi 2 reactor) have actually redeemed their vouchers.

In Canada, residents in an equivalent danger zone have KI pills and instructions on their use shipped directly to every household. The campaign asks that the American emergency plan be changed to emulate the Canadian plan.

While all the “experts” soothingly say nuclear reactors are perfectly safe, recent history demonstrates that catastrophe is a real possibility. March 11 of this year, just 8 days after this meeting, will be the 5th anniversary of the triple meltdown at Fukushima. The reactors that melted down were examples of the General Electric Mark 1 design, the same as The Fermi 2 reactor located just 37 miles away from the center of Royal Oak.

 

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Author: Art Myatt

Retired engineer and environmentally aware activist with Green Party of Michigan, Sierra Club and Alliance to Halt Fermi 3.

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