Oswego County to issue iodide
August 03, 2002
By Chris Iven
Oswego County will begin distributing potassium iodide pills next month to residents within 10 miles of the county's three nuclear power plants, but the state is now studying whether that is enough.
Gov. George Pataki announced this week that the state will hire a former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, James Lee Witt, to conduct a "top-to-bottom" review of the evacuation and potassium iodide distribution plans for counties near nuclear power plants. That will be done in two phases, according to Pataki.
An $801,000 review of Downstate communities affected by nuclear power plants is due by the end of the year. A $122,000 review of Oswego County and other Upstate communities is due next July. Morris Sorbello, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature, said he welcomes the review.
Larry Gottlieb, a spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, which operates the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Scriba, said the state review is a "positive move ... We think it will only enhance good plans that are already in place."
If taken shortly before or after a major release of radiation at a nuclear power plant, potassium iodide, known as KI, would protect people downwind, especially children, from thyroid cancer. The pills work by saturating the thyroid with safe iodine, an ingredient in salt, before radioactive iodine can seep in.
An Oswego County task force has been working with the state Emergency Management Office to develop a distribution plan. The plan is not ready, Sorbello said, but it should come to his desk for approval in the middle of the month. The county Emergency Management Office plans a news conference Wednesday to announce details of the plan.