(presidentialwire.com)- In preparation for the possibility of a radioactive accident at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Poland has started a program to provide emergency workers and first responders with iodine tablets. The program will begin with regional fire departments distributing the tablets to the general population.
The plan was initially announced on Thursday by a Polish deputy minister, who also warned about the possibility of dangerous radioactive exposure during ongoing fighting in the neighboring country of Ukraine, where technicians at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant continue to struggle to maintain safeguards.
The Polish official Blazej Pobozy said in a national radio broadcast in Poland that after the media reported about battles near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, they decided ahead of time to take preventative action to distribute iodine.
He said he would like to reassure all citizens that these are ordinary, preventive procedures to protect people in the case of a scenario that he hopes will not happen. Tablets containing iodine can be used as a preventative measure against thyroid cancer and other illnesses linked to radioactive exposure.
Approximately five hundred Russian soldiers have been stationed at the facility since March. As a result of shelling in the surrounding area, the power cables that supply the plant have been cut numerous times, causing it to be disconnected from the country’s power grid on multiple occasions and forcing it to revert to its backup systems.
Both parties have persisted in pointing the finger of blame at the other for the poor operational conditions, which led plant operators to remove the sixth reactor from the grid earlier this month out of an abundance of caution while a power line was being repaired following a fire.
At the beginning of this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated, “Due to Russian provocation, the Zaporizhzhya facility is one step away from a radioactive disaster.”
There is still a couple of IAEA personnel at the site, and the UN agency that oversees nuclear safety and security is discussing the possibility of moving forward with plans to create a “nuclear safety and security protection zone” surrounding the plant.
Several attempts have been made to predict the impact of a hypothetical radiation fallout centered around Zaporizhzhia.