Neighbors of nuclear plant north of NYC line up for precautionary pills.
June 9, 2002 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Neighbors of nuclear plant north of NYC line up for precautionary pills. "Hundreds of suburbanites living near a nuclear plant north of New York City were given pills Saturday that could protect them from thyroid cancer in the event of a nuclear catastrophe." Would you feel safer if you had the potassium iodide pills?
posted by Kevin Sanders (7 comments total)
Oh crap. Yorktown Heights is about 30 miles from where I work. I doubt the potassium iodide will help, but I wonder if they've got some anti-anxiety meds.
posted by jonmc at 11:15 AM on June 9, 2002

The feds would provide these for free, but my local authorities don't want me to have them. They say "a quick evacuation is the best plan." They assume I'd be hunting around for the pills while I should be in the I-40 traffic jam with all my quickly-evacuating neighbors.
posted by Dean King at 11:21 AM on June 9, 2002

"The only real solution is to close the plant if you want to protect yourself and your children," said Gary Shaw, of Croton, who carried a sign that said, "KI is not an answer."

A misguided and illustrative statement about the problem. Even if they shut off the plant tomorrow, it would take years until the reactors were decommissioned, taken apart and carted away. And they remain a terrorist target until thats completed. The cost of decommissioning nuke power plants is the real tragedy in Nuclear power generation. Very little engineering ever went into how to shut down and haul away reactors after they've been used up. Almost every plant in the US faces huge (billions) in costs once they have run their useful lives. And that cost is never tabulated into the cost of generating the power, so when Con Ed says closingIndian Point will raise utility rates, they're only telling part of the story.
posted by BentPenguin at 11:24 AM on June 9, 2002

There are various considerations regarding evacuation after nuclear accidents. Sometimes it may be best to stay inside until the worst of the radioactive plume blows over. In other instances, it makes more sense to get in the car and leave the area. Finding out about the mechanics of evacuation planning for the area where you live can be very interesting and productive. Eventually, this sort of disaster planning may be coordinated through the "CitizenCorps." (However, it's not clear whether this organization has actually gotten off the ground yet.)

IMHO KI pills are a reasonable precaution if you live within a few miles of a reactor. For the rest of us, a more constructive personal response than hoarding KI pills or Cipro: take daily kelp tablets (unless contraindicated) and make some contribution, however modest, to the cause of energy conservation, alternative energy sources, disaster planning, or clean government.
posted by sheauga at 12:14 PM on June 9, 2002

Ironic: the 9/11 variety of terrorists supposedly want us not to prop up the nondemocratic (or more properly, nonfundamentalist) regimes in the mideast that we depend on for oil, and to just get the hell out.

By making nuclear plants an extreme liability rather than an option for providing the power we need to cease depending on the mideast, the terrorists have worked counter to their goals... if their goals truly are as stated above...
posted by dissent at 3:36 PM on June 9, 2002

KI tablets seem to often be viewed as a panacea. KI only prevents thyroid cancer, and only if taken within 24 hours of a nuclear incident. Radiation sickness, other cancers, burns, etc. aren't helped by KI at all.

From an old Straight Dope column:

Hysteria isn't helpful, whether it's fear of prospective dangers or excitement over prospective cures.
posted by Vidiot at 4:54 PM on June 9, 2002

To tell you the truth, in the case of a nuclear catastrophe, I'd rather die than vomit.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 9:35 PM on June 9, 2002

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