Pennsylvania to Distribute Free Potassium Iodide Tablets Near Nuclear Plants

Nuclear power plantImage by Markus Distelrath

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) will offer free potassium iodide (KI) tablets on June 12 to residents living within 10 miles of the state’s four active nuclear power plants. This initiative is part of routine preventive efforts to prepare for potential emergencies.

Many KI tablets previously distributed by public health agencies are nearing their expiration dates. The upcoming distribution allows residents to exchange these expiring tablets for new ones. This event is in addition to the annual summer distribution.

“Ensuring medications on hand are kept up to date is an important part of protecting your health,” said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen. “Radiological emergencies are rare, but it is important for potentially affected Pennsylvanians to have unexpired tablets on hand.”

The DOH has worked with federal authorities to secure new tablets. KI helps protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine and is safe for most people, including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, children, and infants. However, individuals should consult a healthcare provider if unsure about taking KI. The tablets should be taken only if instructed by state health officials.

Pennsylvania’s four active nuclear facilities are Beaver Valley Power Station, Limerick Generating Station, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, and Susquehanna Steam Electric Station. These facilities are closely regulated and well-maintained.

Residents and workers within 10 miles of these plants can obtain KI tablets by visiting a local distribution center on June 12, calling the Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH, or visiting the Chester or Montgomery County municipal health departments. Those replacing expired tablets may bring them for disposal but can also receive new medication without turning anything in. Expired tablets can be thrown into the regular trash but should not be flushed down the toilet or sink drain.

Individuals may request KI tablets for family members or others unable to pick up the tablets themselves. School districts and employers within the 10-mile radius needing to exchange medication should contact the Department to make arrangements.

On June 12, KI tablets can be exchanged or picked up at the following locations from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM. No appointments are needed:

  • Beaver Valley Power Station: Beaver Valley Mall – Center at the Mall, Unit #284, 570 Beaver Valley Mall Blvd., Monaca, PA, 15061.
  • Limerick Generating Station: Keystone Fire Company, 240 N. Walnut St., Boyertown, PA 19512.
  • Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station:
    • East Drumore Township Municipal Building, 925 Robert Fulton Hwy., Quarryville, PA, 17566.
    • Peach Bottom Recreation Center, 5 Pendyrus Street, Delta, PA, 17314.
  • Susquehanna Steam Electric Station:
    • Berwick City Hall, 1800 North Market Street, Berwick, PA 18603.
    • Butler Township Community Center, 411 West Butler Drive, Drums, PA 18222.
    • Luzerne County Community College, Public Safety Center, 1333 South Prospect Street, Nanticoke, PA, 18634.

Providing KI tablets is an important measure to protect public health in the event of a nuclear incident. By offering these tablets, the state aims to ensure that residents have access to necessary protective measures. This proactive step enhances community readiness and safety.

Additional information on potassium iodide (KI) tablets and nuclear power plant safety can be found on the Department of Health’s website at health.pa.gov.

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