This map, provided by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, shows the secondary zone of the two U.S. nuclear power plants, covering just about all of Essex County and part of extreme western Chatham-Kent. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

KI pill distribution now expanded

Local health officials have expanded an initiative designed to handle the unlikely event of a nuclear accident in the States.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit has rolled out the distribution of potassium iodide (KI) pills to residents in a secondary zone surrounding the Fermi II nuclear power plant in Michigan and the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in northern Ohio. The secondary zone is within 80 kilometres of the plants and covers almost all of Windsor and Essex County, plus a portion of western Chatham-Kent.

The distribution plan was rolled out by the health unit during a news conference Monday morning. Previously, the KI pills were distributed only to people in a primary zone closest to the Fermi II plant, a portion of the town of Amherstburg situated on the Detroit River. This primary zone is the area most likely to be affected by a possible nuclear accident at Fermi II. However, with the two plants in the United States, a mandate by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) said that those living in a secondary zone should have KI pills on hand as well.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, acting medical officer of the health unit, said KI pills are designed to protect the thyroid from nuclear radiation in theĀ event of a nuclear event. These pills are to be kept in a safe place and are only to be taken by a direct order from the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario.

Amherstburg Fire Chief Bruce Montone said they are working with the province to put the plan into action locally. He also said they are still working to ensure that all residents living in the primary zone have taken advantage of the KI pill distribution.

“What we would have provided in terms of information, to those residents who have not yet obtained their pills, is that they can now use the secondary zone process for them to access those pills,” said Montone.

Residents in the secondary zone can now register to receive an email notification on when the KI pills will be available by going to the KI distribution page on the official WECHU website. For those living in the secondary zone in Chatham-Kent, information on KI pills is available on the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit’s official website.

 

Amherstburg Fire Chief Bruce Montone discusses the secondary zone KI pill distribution with reporters at the Windsor Essex County Health Unit, October 15, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.