Belgium has started to make iodine pills available free to its 11 million citizens in case of an accident at its ageing nuclear plants, while saying there is no “specific risk.”
The government has also launched a website in the country’s official languages of French, Dutch and German to tell people what to do in an emergency as it begins implementing plans announced two years ago.
The Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon said his government aimed to “properly inform” the public and the plans were preventative.
“For now there is no specific risk with our nuclear plants,” Jambon told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.
Pharmacies interviewed by Belgian media said they had begun receiving some of the 4.5 million boxes of 10 iodine pills – which help reduce radiation build-up in the thyroid gland – that were ordered by the government.
Belgium’s creaking nuclear plants have been stirring concerns at home and across its borders after a series of problems ranging from leaks to cracks and an unsolved sabotage incident.
In the last few years the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany have all raised concerns about the nuclear plants across the border in Belgium.
Two years ago the Dutch government ordered millions of iodine pills for its own citizens living near the border.