The Dutch are handing out iodine tablets to people that live near Nuclear Facilities

General practitioners, obstetricians and gynaecologists will receive information from their professional associations about iodine tablets, how they work and where they can be obtained (chemists and pharmacists).

Special locations like schools, childcare centres or first aid posts will also be able to stockpile iodine tablets.

Emergency distribution of iodine tablets

The safety regions situated partly or entirely within the 100km zone around a nuclear facility must be ready for emergency distribution in the event of a nuclear accident.

They will have to set up points where people can pick up iodine tablets if there is still enough time. This includes tourists and people who have lost their own stock of tablets. The safety regions can use the nationwide model plan, so that emergency distribution is carried out as uniformly as possible across the country.

How iodine tablets work

Iodine is stored in the body’s thyroid gland, which uses it to make metabolic hormones. If the iodine is radioactive, it could cause thyroid cancer in the long term. Iodine tablets ‘fill’ the thyroid gland with stable iodine, so it cannot absorb the radioactive iodine, which is then excreted.

People must not take the iodine tablets until the authorities advise them to do so. This advice may be given at the same time as other measures in response to a nuclear accident, such as a regional evacuation order or instructions to go to a shelter. The advice will give information about who should take the tablets, where and when.

Iodine tablets should be taken shortly before exposure to radioactive iodine. This ensures a maximum blocking effect and protects the thyroid gland.

Iodine tablets only protect against radioactive iodine, not any other radioactive substances that may be released during a nuclear accident.

Official source: https://www.government.nl/topics/iodine-tablets