Belgium fears nuclear terror: Wants to distribute iodine pills to everybody

Belgium fears nuclear terror: Wants to distribute iodine pills to everybody
The entire population of Belgium should be provided with a stock of iodine tablets that protect against radiation, suggests the Belgian Government.

In connection with the investigation of the terrorist attacks in Brussels in March, it emerged that an ISIS-cell planned to kidnap a nuclear expert to build a 'dirty bomb'. A dirty bomb is a bomb containing radioactive substances which are dispersed over a larger area in the blast.

Since the attacks in the Belgian capital, 11 employees at nuclear power plants in the country have had their security clearances withdrawn.

And now the Belgian Government wants to take further measures to protect the population against potential terrorist attacks and meltdowns at nuclear power plants. All 11 million people in the country must therefore have iodine tablets lying in the medicine cabinet, from next year, proposes the government. The pill reduces the body's uptake of the radioactivity that is spread by a nuclear accident.

Earlier, the Belgian authorities have issued iodine tablets to people who live within a radius of 20 kilometers from the nuclear power stations Tihange and Doel. But after advise from experts, the health minister, Maggie De Block, now wants to distribute the pills to residents within a radius of 100 kilometers, writes Belgian media.

- With such a radius around each nuclear power plant, there is not one square centimeter of Belgium, which is not covered, says De Block to Flanders News.

The pills will be sent out to the country's pharmacies, and the people are then ordered to gather their rations to be used in case of a meltdown. Children, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding will be prioritized first.

The brothers Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, who was behind the suicide attacks on the subway and the airport in Brussels, are believed to have been involved in the plans to spread radioactive material in densely populated areas with a 'dirty bomb'.

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