Even the Fukushima tragedy can’t get the NRC to change its position on KI. In a special report released last week, the Commission once again acknowledges that KI can help prevent radioactive iodine contamination, only to qualify its endorsement by stating the obvious – KI does not protect humans from other radioisotopes or organs other than the thyroid. It’s a little like saying water isn’t all that beneficial because while it may be critical if you’re dying of thirst, it’s not much help if you’re hungry.
What the report fails to mention is the Commission itself concluded ten years after Chernobyl that “…except for thyroid cancer, there has been no confirmed increase in the rates of other cancers” (NUREG-1633). KI may only be a prophylactic agent for radioactive iodine, but that doesn’t change the reality that contamination from radioactive iodine is the greatest risk most people will face if there is a nuclear catastrophe.
The report also fails to address the most dangerous policy championed by the Commission – that there is no risk from radioactive iodine if someone is further than 10 miles from an accident. There is no scientific basis for concluding a person or child is in danger at 9 miles but will always be safe at 11 miles. At Chernobyl, 97% of the first 750 cases of thyroid cancer occurred at least 30 miles from the reactor site. In Japan, dangerous levels of radioactive iodine were found on farms more than 30 miles and in drinking water more than 150 miles from the Fukushima reactor site.
Various governmental authorities in Japan, including our own State Department, did not impose an arbitrary 10 mile limitation on KI. We can only if there is a crisis in the United States, Americans in America will receive the same protection afforded Americans in Japan.
For a copy of the Commission’s report, click here: ML111861807