The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Confederation to distribute new iodine tablets to Swiss population

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 13 October 2023

In the coming weeks and until April 2024, the Army Pharmacy will replace iodine tablets in all households as well as in businesses and public institutions within a radius of 50 kilometers around the Swiss nuclear power plants Beznau I/II AG, Gösgen SO and Leibstadt AG. Part of the costs are borne by the nuclear power plant operators.

Confederation to distribute new iodine tablets to Swiss population

This is a precautionary distribution. In order to ensure the safety of the Swiss population, the federal government purchased twelve million packages of iodine tablets, as the Swiss Armed Forces Defense Group announced on Thursday.

The budget for the distribution campaign is 34 million francs. 11 million francs of that will be covered by the nuclear power plant operators, who will pay 1.22 million francs a year into the general federal coffers between 2021 and 2029.

The Mühleberg BE nuclear power plant, which was taken off the grid in 2019, is currently being dismantled. Households, businesses and public facilities within the 50-kilometer radius are therefore no longer part of the mandatory distribution area to private individuals. For the municipalities concerned, the completion of cantonal stocks for emergencies is currently underway.

Ten-year shelf life

Outside the 50-kilometer radius around Swiss nuclear power plants, the cantons ensure that potassium iodide tablets are stored appropriately so that the entire population can be supplied with them in an emergency.

The tablets may only be taken on the orders of the authorities, in particular the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC). They can be stored for a maximum of ten years and must then be replaced.

Iodine tablets prevent the absorption of radioactive iodine into the thyroid gland and the development of thyroid cancer. They are only to be taken in the event of a serious nuclear power plant accident involving the release of radioactivity.

©Keystone/SDA

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