The most important people who are affected by the safety zone around a nuclear power plant and who do not pick up their iodine tablets in pharmacies are currently receiving them from La Poste.
In the mailboxes of residents less than 20 km from a nuclear power plant, for us it will be that of Golfech, a strange envelope with the inscription “Government” arrives in the mailboxes. Not all boxes, only those from residents who did not go to the pharmacy to collect the iodine to take in the event of an incident at the pharmacy. “At the end of the withdrawal period, you seem to have not taken this step yet,” says a letter dated January 2021, co-signed by the Prefect, Director General for Civil Security and Crisis Management, Alain Thirion, Professor Jérôme Salomon, Director General for Health and Carine Wolf-Thal, President of the National Council of the Order of Pharmacists.
With this letter there is a box with ten tablets in the envelope. Since 1997 there have been regular campaigns to distribute iodine tablets to people who live or work near a nuclear power plant. These campaigns, organized by the public authorities (state and EDF, owners of nuclear power plants), aim to provide the population in the vicinity of nuclear power plants with stable iodine tablets to protect their thyroid in the event of an accidental release of radioactive iodine into the atmosphere. In the event of a nuclear accident, taking stable iodine tablets protects the thyroid from radioactive iodine that could be released into the environment. The thyroid gland absorbs the stable iodine to the point of saturation and can therefore no longer absorb the radioactive iodine that is ultimately inhaled or ingested. Iodine tablets should be administered in an accident situation and only when instructed by the authorities.
Who organizes the distribution?
The Ministry of the Interior is coordinating the second phase of the preventive campaign to distribute iodine tablets to residents within a 10 to 20 kilometer radius of the 19 French nuclear power plants. The first phase of this campaign since September 2019 consisted of iodine tablets in partner pharmacies for 2.2 million people and more than 200,000 institutions, companies, schools, administrations etc. all over the country.
Since February, the tablets have been sent by post to 600,000 identified households who have not picked them up from pharmacies. The government also notes that “ERPs (public bodies) that have not yet completed the process, as well as newcomers from the affected communities, are encouraged to withdraw them from partner pharmacies. You can resign simply by submitting proof of residence, public acceptance and / or the number of employees. The iodine tablets are distributed by the army’s central pharmacy. They should only be taken at the prefect’s invitation via radio, television, newspaper websites, state social networks and are free to distribute.
For more information a phone number, 0 800 96 00 22, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (free call).