Gov’t nuclear adviser “flabbergasted” that Japan failed to distribute iodine pills after meltdowns

Published: September 29th, 2011 at 8:37 am ET
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Japan Failed to Hand Out Radiation Pills, Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2011:

Government officials failed to distribute to thousands of people pills that could have minimized radiation risks from the March nuclear accident, government documents show. [...]

Though Japan’s nuclear-safety experts recommended dispensing pills immediately, Tokyo didn’t order pills be given out until five days after the March 11 accident, the documents show. By then, most of the nearly 100,000 residents evacuated [...]

[The pill] has little effect when administered days after the release of radiation. [...]

NISA issued an instruction March 16 for residents of towns within 20 kilometers of the plant to take KI pills, nearly four days after the government issued an evacuation order for those same towns. [...]

“Most of our residents had no idea we were supposed to take medication like that [...] By the time the pills were delivered to our office on the 16th, everyone in the village was gone.” -Juichi Ide, general-affairs chief of Kawauchi Village, located about 20 miles from the plant

“I had simply assumed local residents had been given potassium iodide [... I was] flabbergasted [when learning recently that wasn't the case].” -Gen Suzuki, a physician specializing in radiation research and adviser to Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission

Published: September 29th, 2011 at 8:37 am ET
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