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Wake to distribute preparedness tablets to residents near nuclear plant

Posted April 26, 2010

— Wake County will distribute potassium iodide (KI) tablets next month to residents located within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) of the Harris Nuclear Power Plant.

The distribution is part of joint preparedness planning by Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Wake counties. The doses are being distributed to replace pills residents may currently have on hand that recently expired.

Wake County will offer drive through distribution to people living within the EPZ from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, and Saturday, May 22, at the following locations:

  • Fuquay-Varina High School, 201 Bengal Blvd., Fuquay-Varina
  • Holly Ridge Middle School, 950 Holly Ridge Road, Holly Springs
  • Apex High School, 1501 Laura Duncan Road, Apex

“It is always better to be prepared for an emergency ahead of time, and for people who live within 10 miles of the Shearon Harris plant, this is an excellent way to do so,” Wake County Community Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford said in statement. "We also ask that people put their potassium iodide in a safe place once they get home, and never take it unless they are directed to do so by either the County or the state."

KI is an over-the-counter medication that can protect the thyroid gland if a person is exposed to radioactive iodine released during an emergency at a nuclear power plant. If taken within the appropriate time and at the appropriate dose, KI blocks the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine and reduces the risk of thyroid cancer.

People allergic to iodine should not take KI.

Children are more vulnerable to the effects of radioactive iodine than adults, and are more likely to develop thyroid cancer if they are exposed to radioactive iodine. Parents should consult a doctor if they have questions about their children taking KI.

The best health protection in a nuclear power plant emergency is to evacuate the area. Taking KI when instructed is an additional safety measure, Ledford said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • mgratk Apr 27, 2010

    I live 8 miles from SH and I am much happier than if it were a coal or oil burning power plant. I feel quite safe. There are many more much probable concerns for people to worry about. Lightning, fires, car wrecks, bacon, these are things that are much more probable dangers. That said, it can't hurt to have the pills in the bottom of the first aid kit or medicine cabinet.

  • robbincasino Apr 27, 2010

    So since I live 11 miles away, I'm safe, right? NOT!

  • wattsun Apr 27, 2010

    Although Progress won approval to open two new pools at Harris, in 2003, the power company agreed to phase-out its shipping of waste, and did so over the next few years as it added storage capacity at the Robinson and Brunswick plants.

    Harris’ four pools remain an even greater risk than were the nuclear waste trains. And with a long-plagued national disposal project at Yucca Mountain, Nevada virtually dead, nuclear plants are becoming de facto permanent waste dumps. This increases the need for the safer storage plan advocated by watchdog groups and scientists.

  • wattsun Apr 27, 2010

    In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences confirmed the concerns of scientists and citizen groups across the US, and endorsed a proposal that would reduce risks of catastrophic pool fires by dispersing the waste and moving most of it into bunkered, dry storage. But the industry balked, preferring to sink millions into exploring construction of new reactors.

    One clarification: Progress Energy indeed had shipped spent fuel by train to Harris from its other plants and intended to do so until 2030. That was the subject of a contentious five-year fight that NC WARN instigated in 1998 along with Orange County, with help from other local governments.

  • wattsun Apr 27, 2010

    Sharon Harris has the nation's largest "spent"
    fuel pools.

    in 06' the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a declassified study which finds that pools storing highly radioactive waste at the nation’s nuclear power plants are vulnerable to terrorist attack. Congress commissioned the study over a year ago, but its release has been held up since last summer by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which disagrees with NAS’s findings. The coalition issued the following statement today after reviewing the declassified version of the NAS study:

    “The release of NAS’s study puts to rest any doubts about the danger we all face: nuclear waste at our nation’s nuclear power plants is vulnerable to attack. We applaud the Academy for its scientific integrity and its perseverance in seeing to it that these important findings are made public.

  • CherryDarling Apr 27, 2010



  • Tin Nutt Apr 27, 2010

    wattsun, while I agree there is always a small percentage risk with a nuclear power plant and waste storage, that project censored article is not objective enough to be taken seriously.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Apr 27, 2010

    Didn't they already do this? De ja vu...

  • wattsun Apr 27, 2010

    Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina.


  • m0nky Apr 27, 2010

    nuclear power is ridiculously safe these days. the chances you'll need it are virtually nonexistent.

    if only the NIMBY folk would get over their fears...