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NUKE PILLS; Fury at anti-cancer drug for plant locals.

Byline: LORRAINE FISHER

CAMPAIGNERS hit out yesterday at plans to hand out pills to people living near a nuclear power station in case of any leaks.

The anti-radiation tablets, which stop the thyroid gland absorbing radioactive iodine, will be distributed to everyone within a mile and a half of Sizewell B in Suffolk from Thursday. They are aimed at reducing the risk of cancer in the thyroid.

The move by Suffolk Coastal NHS Primary Care Trust follows advice from the Department of Health.

But anti-nuclear group the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign expressed concern that any major incident at the power plant would also release other types of radiation - not stopped by the pills.

A spokesman said: "The truth is that it would be impossible to protect people from the radioactive fallout if a nuclear power station was seriously damaged.

"The numbers hit could run into many thousands, perhaps millions."

The group's chairman Charles Barnett said he welcomed the move to try to protect people closest to the nuclear site but the extent of the distribution zone was totally inadequate. He added: "Have they not heard of Chernobyl where the radioactive cloud passed over thousands of miles?"

Earlier this year Dr Amanda Jones, of the Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust, said: "The people we're thinking of distributing to are people within a relatively small radius - two or three hundred people.

"Research has shown that if there was a small incident these are the most likely to be affected."

Jack Broom, who lives in Dunwich, less than half a mile from the plant, said he intended to collect pills for himself, his wife and three children.

But he added: "I'm not sure they will do a lot of good because an accident is likely to be well on its way before we know about it."

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PROTECTION: Sizewell B
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 22, 2003
Words:308
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