TRENTON - Health,
Environmental Protection and State Police officials today unveiled
New Jersey's plan for distributing potassium iodide to people living,
working or visiting areas within 10 miles of the state's four nuclear
plan calls for distributing a one-day supply of potassium iodide,
scientifically referred to as KI, to all interested residents and
workers in Cumberland, Ocean and Salem Counties within 10 miles
of the nuclear power plants in Ocean and Salem Counties - the Emergency
Planning Zones (EPZs). Public education and distribution sessions
will be held in the counties beginning in mid-July, the target date
for distributing the one-day KI supply.
offers a degree of cancer protection to the thyroid gland in cases
of a release and exposure to radioactive iodine. If taken before
or shortly after radiological exposure, potassium iodide blocks
the thyroid gland's ability to absorb radioactive iodine.
the plan unveiled today, the pills will also be available at designated
locations in Ocean, Salem and Cumberland Counties to be given to
visitors, residents and workers in the event of a radiological release.
As an interim measure, reserve stockpiles of the pills that can
be moved quickly within the affected counties or any area of the
state have been established.
plan was developed by an inter-agency workgroup and members of the
Medical Emergency and Disaster Prevention and Response Expert Panel
(MEDPREP), a group of top New Jersey health experts formed in November
by then Governor-elect James E. McGreevey to ensure the state's
health care system is prepared to effectively respond to acts of
terrorism, disease outbreaks, natural disasters and other emergencies.
have made KI an integral part of our comprehensive emergency prevention
and response plan because it has proven health benefits and limited
risk," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton
R. Lacy, M.D. "Our hope is that we will never have to use the
pills, but we are now prepared should the need arise."
Lacy added, "Distributing KI pills now is strictly a preparedness
measure. We are not responding to any imminent danger or threat."
KI pills available provides an added level of protection to the
at risk population in a worst-case scenario during evacuation,"
said Bradley M. Campbell, DEP Commissioner. "I applaud Commissioner
Lacy's foresight and will continue to work with the Department to
protect our citizens."
Kevin Hayden, Deputy State Director, State Office of Emergency Management,
Division of State Police, said "that the State Office of Emergency
Management in cooperation with allied state agencies will continue
our long standing cooperative efforts with Federal, County and local
officials with regard to the planning, training and exercising requirements
of this policy. We will continue outreach efforts to the affected
utilities, government officials, and citizens in the Emergency Protective
Zones to assure an effective and comprehensive implementation of
Jersey currently has a supply of 722,000 KI pills, which it received
free-of-charge from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in April.
The State will be working with local and county officials to publicize
the KI distribution schedule.
total, 33 states and 1 Native American nation within 10-mile EPZs
around nuclear power plants were offered a supply of KI by the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission. The pills were made available at no charge
to states on a first-come, first-serve basis. New Jersey was the
11th state to accept the offer.
pills are not a panacea," said Dr. Lacy. "While the pills
offer protection of the thyroid from radioactive iodine, they offer
no protection to the body from other injuries due to radiation exposure.
Evacuation and sheltering are the primary modes of protection in
a radiological emergency."
Office of Emergency Management within the Division of State Police,
in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Senior Services
and Environmental Protection and county and local health and emergency
management officials, will manage New Jersey's KI distribution plan.
# # #
KI pills are being made available to residents and workers in the
following municipalities that encompass the 10-mile EPZs: Greenwich
and Stow Creek in Cumberland County; Elsinboro, Lower Alloways Creek,
Mannington, Quinton, Pennsville and Salem City in Salem County;
and Barnegat, Barnegat Light, Beachwood, Berkeley, Dover, Harvey
Cedars, Island Heights, Lacey, Long Beach, Pine Beach, Ocean, Ocean
Gate, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, South Toms River, Stafford and
Surf City in Ocean County.