Anti-radiation pills mailed to residents living near Ontario nuclear plants

Those living within a 10-kilometre radius of a nuclear plant in Ontario received an unusual package in the mail recently — anti-radiation pills.

The potassium iodine pills, also known as KI pills, were distributed in a blue box to homes and businesses in the Scarborough and Durham Region areas as a precaution in the event of a nuclear disaster.

Nuclear disasters fast facts:

— No Canadian Nuclear plant has ever had a nuclear accident

— The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale measures the intensity of nuclear accidents after the event occurs

— The highest number, 7, indicates a major accident. There have been only two level 7 disasters in history:

Chernobyl (April 1986) – An accidental surge of power during a test procedure led to an explosion of core material that killed 56 people. The World Health Organization estimated that there were about 4,000 cancer fatalities as well. The 30-kilometre radius around the plant is still uninhabited.

Fukushima Daiichi (March 2011) – The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami damaged the plant’s reactors, resulting in overheating. The subsequent explosions released radioactive material into the environment. The fatalities are estimated to be up to 10, 000. Source: Wikipedia

They are to be taken just before or immediately after a nuclear emergency to avoid radiation poisoning. It works by preventing the thyroid gland from absorbing radiation.

Last year the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission changed the regulations making it mandatory for KI pills be sent to the homes of residents in case of an emergency.

The distribution of kits is a joint effort by the Ontario Power Generation (owner of the Pickering and Darlington plants), the City of Toronto and the City of Durham.

People living and working in ‘secondary zones’ — or those within 50 kilometres of power plants — can order free pills at

Listen to Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Neal Kelly, spokesperson for Ontario Power Generation and local resident Daphne Adolph talk about what the pills mean.

About this article

By: Bria John
Posted: Nov 11 2015 2:58 pm
Filed under: News Science & Health

3 Comments on "Anti-radiation pills mailed to residents living near Ontario nuclear plants"

  1. And…..don’t use Wikipedia for references on Nuclear Power

  2. Also

    The earthquake didn’t damage the reactors, it was the resulting tsunami that caused havoc by 1. knocking out all offsite power 2. Flooding the emergency diesel generators which resulted in the uncovering or the cores in 3 reactors.

    The explosions at Fukushima were not the reactors, it was due to hydrogen accumulation in the upper elevations of the reactor building.

  3. Couple things…

    1. KI pills work by saturating the thyroid so it doesn’t absorb I-131….which is radioactive. Your thyroid is not absorbing radiation, its absorbing radioactive material.

    2. Chernobyl has killed 63 people…..that’s it

    3. Fukushima hasn’t killed anybody and will end up not killing anybody from the radioactive releases.

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