Got KI?

Protect you and your family during a nuclear emergency with potassium iodide (KI).

Beyond Nuclear is campaigning to have state and federal authorities adopt the recommendations of the American Thyroid Association’s (ATA) “Scientific Statement on the Use of Postasium Iodide Ingestion in a Nuclear Emergency" (2017) calling for the pre-distribution and stockpiling of KI within Emergency Planning Zones at all U.S. nuclear power plants:

  • 0 to 10 miles          Pre-distribution by direct delivery of KI to all residents
  • 10 to 50 miles        Strategic stockpiling KI in schools, hospitals, police and fire stations 

Potassium iodide (KI) is stable, non-radioactive iodine, commonly used to iodize tablet salt. When administered in FDA approved doses, KI will saturate the human thyroid gland to prevent the absorption of cancer-causing radioactive iodine (I-131) that can be released during a severe nuclear accident. In order for KI to effectively protect the thyroid---particularly in infants, children and pregnant women---it needs to be ingestioned before or immediately during the passage of the radioactive release. There is a medical consensus that KI ingestion is a safe and proven  "essential adjunct" with prompt evacuation and/or sheltering-in-place when ordered by emergency officials. Consequently, public health and emergency management  officials are urging State and Federal emergency preparedness to require the predistribution and strategically stockpiling of  KI in advance of need so that it is on hand for the prompt treatment of downwind populations during evacuation and sheltering.

Read more on why KI needs to be incorporated more effectively into emergency planning around U.S. nuclear power plants. 



Public Radio interview focuses on Ann Arbor City Council call for Michigan and NRC to expand KI predistribution 

Ann Arbor, Michigan City Councilmember Ann Bannister is interviewed on WEMU Public Radio regarding the unanimous passage of the municipal resolution calling upon the State of Michigan and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to expand potassium iodide (KI) predistriution and strategic stockpiling out to a 50-mile radius around the Fermi-2 nuclear power station in Monroe, Michigan. Canadian authorities are already predistributing the KI to Canadian's living within 50 miles of US reactors where emergency preparedness zones extend over the international border.

There is now a medical consensus that KI predistribution and strategic stockpiling within a 50-mile radius of all nuclear power stations is prudent protection with a focus on infants, children and pregnant women.

American Thyroid Association  (2017) issues scientific paper on potassium iodide (KI) prophylaxis for protection of the thyroid---particularly in infants, children and pregnant women---from radioactive iodine potentially released during a nuclear accident. The ATA is calling for KI predistribution by direct delivery to populations within 10 miles of nuclear power stations and expanded strategic stockpiling for the population within a 50-mile radius.
Canadian health authorities   (2018) are already predistributing KI to all Ontario citizens living and working within 50 miles of the Fermi 2 nuclear power station operating in Monroe, Michigan and Canadians living within the 50-mile emergency preparedness zones for U.S. reactors in Ohio (Davis-Besse and Perry).
American Academy of Pediatrics (2018) calls for expanded predistrubition of KI around U.S. nuclear power stations. 
 "Because treatment with KI should be commenced immediately before or during the passage of a radioactive cloud in an event in which radioiodines are released, KI supplies need to be stored where readily available to the public. Storage in the National Strategic Stockpile will not allow for timely distribution of materials; KI should be stored in hospitals, public health departments, and other local sites;" (Recommendations to Government, p.3)
American Thyroid Association (2019) statement in support of Ann Arbor City Resolution to Strengthen Emergency Planning, Dr. Thomas Giordano, Pathologist, Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, ATA Board Member and Ann Arbor resident.

Officials, doctors, public seek to harmonize with "best practice" for KI predistribution and nuclear disaster preparedness around Fermi-2 nuclear station---the US reactor's radiological preparedness zone spans international border where Canadians are now better protected from radiation following the same accident

On February 4, 2019, the Ann Arbor City Council in Southeast Michigan unanimously passed a municipal resolution calling on the State and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to upgrade radiological disaster preparedness around the Fermi Unit 2 nuclear power station, approximately 30-miles away, in Monroe, MI. Specifically, the city is requesting the State and the NRC to strategically stockpile potassium iodide (KI) tablets in city schools, hospitals, police and fire stations for the population-level protection of the thyroid, particularly those of infants, young children through 18 years old and pregnant woman and lactating mothers, from radioactive iodine released during a severe nuclear accident.  KI, if ingested shortly after a radioactive release and accompanied by evacuation, sheltering-in-place and avoiding contaminated food, water and milk, is effective in saturating the thyroid with stable iodine and preventing the absorption of cancer-causing radioiodine.

In fact, Ann Arbor officials are seeking the same level of disaster medicine preparedness as already provided Canadians living within Fermi nuclear station’s internationally recognized 50-mile emergency planning zone. The Fermi radiological emergency planning zone spans Lake Erie and the US and Canada border. Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Ontario health officials and Canadian nuclear regulators required in 2014 the predistribution and stockpiling of KI to Canadian populations around all Canadian nuclear power stations. In December 2017, the Ontario Provincial Government expanded the predistribution of KI to Canadians living in radiological emergency planning zones for the U.S.-based nuclear power stations in Michigan (Fermi-2) and Ohio (Davis-Besse and Perry).

The Ann Arbor municipal resolution---introduced by Beyond Nuclear, city residents and a Michigan safe energy coalition---is supported by the American Thyroid Association (ATA).  In testimony before City Council on the night of the vote, Dr. Thomas Giordano, an Ann Arbor resident, a pathologist with University of Michigan’s Michigan Medicine and ATA board member, supported passage of the municipal resolution. Dr. Giordano emphasized the importance of KI pre-distribution and stockpiling around nuclear power stations to protect the youngest and most vulnerable population and importantly "required"---not just an option.

The City of Ann Arbor is now preparing a KI lobby campaign to approach state and Washtenaw County emergency planners and public health officials as well as the NRC a Beyond Nuclear will work with Ann Arbor officials and broaden its public outreach to foster support for the resolution in municipalities within the emergency planning zone of Fermi and other U.S. reactors.


Toronto schools want KI tablets distribution zone expanded for radioactive iodine protection around Pickering

News clip on Toronto school district wants the Canadian nuclear regulator and the nuclear industry to expand current KI tablent distribution out to 50 kilometers (30 miles) from 10 kilometers (6 miles).


Beyond Nuclear, Greenpeace Canada and Alliance To Halt Fermi 3 call for equal protection in U.S. as in Canada from Fermi 2 accident: American Thyroid Association lends its support

Beyond Nuclear, Greenpeace Canada, and The Alliance to Halt Fermi 3, are calling for US citizens to receive the same protections against nuclear disaster as their neighbors in Canada. The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has also come out in favor of harmonizing American and Canadian distribution of potassium-iodide tablets which, if administered promptly, can help reduce the risk of and even prevent thyroid cancer caused by exposure to radioactive iodine released during a nuclear accident.

The group statement came at a public event held in Detroit on April 18, 2018, which set out the reasons why people in Michigan and Ohio living near the Fermi 2 nuclear reactor (pictured) near Monroe, MI, should receive the same protections as Ontario residents living within the Fermi nuclear station’s 10- and 50-mile emergency zones.

In an April 17, 2018 press release, the groups called on U.S. authorities to harmonize American nuclear emergency plans with newly strengthened Canadian public safety rules requiring the direct distribution and stockpiling of potassium iodide (KI) pills for Canadians living near the Michigan-based Fermi 2 nuclear station.

If taken shortly after a nuclear accident, a KI pill significantly reduces the risk of thyroid cancer caused by exposure to radioactive iodine released during a nuclear accident. Thousands of people, especially children, came down with thyroid cancer downwind of the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine. 

Ontario’s recently updated nuclear emergency plan requires KI be predistribute by direct delivery to to door of  Canadians living within the 10-mile evacuation planning zone of the Fermi 2 and strategically stockpiled in 50-mile ingestion planning zones, which reach deep into Southern Ontario.  

“Michigan and Ohio residents living in the Fermi 2 emergency planning zone deserve the same level of protection as their Canadian neighbors,” said Paul Gunter with the Maryland-based organization, Beyond Nuclear. “American authorities should match the new Canadian requirements so that potentially impacted U.S. residents can have KI predistributed directly to their homes and workplaces,” Gunter continued.

Following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Canadian authorities required safe and effective KI pills be delivered to the homes of over 200,000 Canadians living within the six-mile evacuation zone around Ontario-based reactors and be made available upon request to anyone within a 30-mile extended planning zone. Ontario’s new emergency plan extends this requirement to Canadians living within the Fermi nuclear station’s 10- and 50-mile emergency zones.

The joint campaign effort focuses on a petition to municipal governments in the Fermi 2 emergency planning zones calling for harmonization with the Canadian predistribution and stockpiling of KI as supported by medical professionals with the ATA. 

Read the full press release.


Canadians downwind of the Fermi-2 in US still waiting for emergency preparedness resources including KI

Candian emergency responders, including the  fire department chief in Amherstberg, Ontario, are still waiting for a response from Ontario Provencial government officils regarding adequate resources for emergency preparedness in the event of nuclear accident at the Fermi-2 nuclear power station across Lake Erie in the United States.  Local and Ontario Provencial officials had a meeting the last week of January 2018 to go over the situation that commuities facing a nuclear accident from a US-based reactor were not being provided adequate and equal protection a those communities receive around Canadian reactors.  A March 2018 meeting is expected to find out more details particularly about Amherstberg  and Windsor communities receiving preparedness, including the predistribution by direct mail delivery of potassium iodide (KI) for prophylactic protection of the thyroid glands of children and pregnant women.