The Polish government has begun to pass out iodine tablets over fear that fighting around a nuclear power plant in Ukraine could lead to a “nuclear event.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 22, 2022
According to Reuters, “Iodine is considered a way of protecting the body against conditions such as thyroid cancer in case of radioactive exposure.”
Zaporizhzhia, the site of the largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine, has come under fire on numerous occasions leading many to believe that Russian troops are targeting the site. Buildings around the six reactors have been damaged and power lines have been cut.
A nuclear catastrophe at this site could have long-lasting effects not only on Ukraine but on neighboring countries as well.
On top of that, NPR reports that another nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine has been the target of a Russian missile. None of the three nuclear reactors were hit by the Russian missile, but other industrial equipment around the site was damaged and the hit was very close to the nuclear reactors.
Poland’s Deputy Interior Minister Blazej Pobozy said in a recent radio broadcast, “After the media reports about battles near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, we decided … ahead of time to take protective action to distribute iodine.”
Poland is distributing the iodine to local fire departments that could then pass out the tablets to the general public if and when needed. Iodine, however, is simply a preventative measure for certain types of cancer, and a nuclear event caused by an explosion at a power plant could have far-reaching consequences.
Pobozy tried to reassure the Polish population by saying, “I would like to reassure all citizens that these are routine, preemptive actions that are to protect us in the event of a situation which … I hope will not happen,” but the fear of a nuclear disaster is real.
While Russia has blamed Ukraine for the “shelling” of the Zaporizhzhia plant, the subsequent missile strike against the nuclear plant in southern Ukraine is cause for great concern. It shows a lack of concern even for attacking nuclear targets that could kill millions of innocent people.