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« Public Radio interview focuses on Ann Arbor City Council call for Michigan and NRC to expand KI predistribution | Main | Toronto schools want KI tablets distribution zone expanded for radioactive iodine protection around Pickering »
Thursday
Feb072019

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.