Illinois residents living near nuclear power plants should have received in the mail, or will shortly, a voucher for potassium iodide pills. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency last week sent out vouchers for free potassium iodide (KI) pills to residents living within a 10-mile radius of the state’s six operating nuclear power plants.
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KI is a non-prescription drug used to protect the thyroid from radioactive iodine, which could be released during a nuclear power plant accident. This is the second time the state of Illinois has distributed KI pills to residents near nuclear power plants. In 2002, the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety offered KI pills to people living within the emergency planning zones. That department merged with IEMA in 2003.
IEMA spokeswoman Patti Thompson says many people have moved into the emergency planning zones around the nuclear plants since the last time KI pills were distributed to residents. She says some families may have grown in size, another reason IEMA is mailing out the vouchers. There are more than 60,000 homes within the emergency planning zones of each plant.