Campaign shows what to do in nuclear crisis


The federal government has published a brochure and launched a website with information to help citizens cope in the event of a nuclear incident

Potassium iodide for all

Should you be concerned about nuclear accidents, you might want to consider moving to Antoing in the Hainaut province of Wallonia. Antoing is the only town in Belgium that falls outside of a 100-kilometre radius of a nuclear power facility.

That amusing fact emerged as the federal government launched a new campaign yesterday on what to do in case of a nuclear incident. One of the initiatives of the campaign is to provide everyone living within 100 kilometres of a nuclear facility free potassium iodide tablets. It turns out that, once France’s nuclear facilities are included, almost everyone in the country lives within 100 kilometres of one.

Previously, the federal government allowed anyone living within 30 kilometres of a nuclear facility to have free access to the tablets. It has now increased that radius, meaning anyone with an ID card (aside from the residents of Antoing) can go to a pharmacy and request the tablets (jodiumtabletten in Dutch).

Potassium Iodide helps block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid, protecting the gland from radiation.

Belgium is home to two nuclear power plants, one in Flanders and one in Wallonia. There is also a production facility for radiopharmaceuticals in Wallonia and a nuclear research facility and nuclear fuel producer, both in Flanders.

The Nuclear Risk campaign website (in Dutch, French and German) provides information on what to do in case of a nuclear emergency, including remaining indoors, closing windows and turning off ventilation systems. It also provides tips for people who live within just a few kilometres of a nuclear facility, such as in Antwerp and Mol.