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Home / News / OPG encourages residents near Pickering Nuclear plant to order free Ki pills… just in case

OPG encourages residents near Pickering Nuclear plant to order free Ki pills… just in case

Over 32,000 potassium iodide pills ordered after Pickering nuclear plant alert error

Tens of thousands of people placed orders for free potassium iodide (or Ki) pills in two days following a false alert from the province about an incident at a nuclear plant in Pickering, Ont., says a CBC report.

On Sunday, a false alert was sent out to Ontario mobile phones at 7:24 am, sending shockwaves across the GTA and the Durham Region where the plant is located.

Residents near Pickering Nuclear plant to order free Ki pills

Since that false alert, from Sunday morning to Monday afternoon over 32,388 orders were placed for potassium iodide pills through Durham Region’s Prepare To Be Safe website, which is jointly managed by the City of Toronto and Ontario Power Generation (OPG), reports the CBC.

According to OPG they usually only receive, between 100 and 200 orders are placed per month. 

The explanation for the order increase can be found on Durham Region’s Prepare to be Safe web page.

The Durham Region Prepare to be Safe website explains:

There’s no such thing as being too prepared – Residents near Pickering Nuclear plant to order free Ki pills

In the highly unlikely event of a nuclear accident, a potassium iodide (Ki) pill is a key component to keeping you and your family safe. All homes and businesses within 10 km of nuclear facilities are encouraged to have on hand potassium iodide (KI) pills. Anyone within 50 km of nuclear facilities is welcome to order KI for delivery.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) — the federal agency that monitors the safe operation of nuclear stations — now requires that all homes and businesses within 10 km of a nuclear power station receive a supply of potassium iodide (KI) pills. The pills have been available free of charge at select pharmacies, but will now be sent by mail due to increased safety standards.

Residents near Pickering Nuclear plant to order free Ki pills

The statement goes on to say that “in the very unlikely event of a nuclear emergency and a release of radioactive iodine to the public, KI pills will help prevent the development of thyroid cancer, and are especially effective at safeguarding children’s thyroid glands. It is important for each household to have a supply of these pills because they are most effective if taken just before or soon after exposure to radioactive iodine.

“The distribution of KI pills is not due to any change in the risk of a nuclear emergency and is not meant to cause alarm. We believe that staying safe means being prepared, even for the most unlikely of events,” the statement concludes.

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