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Friday
Dec092011

Not on Our Fault Line calls upon NRC to distribute KI within 20 miles of North Anna

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA)Not on Our Fault Line, a group of concerned citizens which formed in response to the 5.8 magnitude earthquake of August 23, 2011 epicentered just 11 miles from the North Anna nuclear power plant, is calling on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to enforce a 2002 law requiring the distribution of potassium iodide (KI) tablets within 20 miles of U.S. atomic reactors. KI saturates the human thyroid gland, blocking uptake of hazardous Iodine-131, a viciously radioactive substance that escaped during the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, causing an epidemic of thyroid disease downwind in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Large quantities of I-131 also escaped during the Fukushima triple reactor core meltdown and radioactive waste storage pool fire that began in March 2011, leading the Japanese federal government to warn parents not to use Tokyo's tap water for infants during the early days of the catastrophe due to I-131 contamination. I-131 has an 8 day half life; thus, its hazardous persistence lasts 80 to 160 days.

Section 127 of the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 was sponsored as a successful amendment by U.S. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA, pictured at left), a long time watchdog on the nuclear power industry. In May, 2011, Markey led a bipartisan letter of House Members addressed to President Obama, calling for implementation of the law. 9 long years after its enactment, NRC still had not enforced the law. Markey issued a press release about the letter to Obama, signed by 30 Members of Congress.