NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. (WTRF) – Exposure to an accident at a nuclear power plant can cause radiation poisoning fairly quickly, but the residents living and working near one local nuclear power plant now have some protection. 

The Hancock County Health Department and Office of Emergency Management distributed free Potassium Iodide or KI tablets to those living or working within the ten-mile Emergency Planning Zone of the Beaver Valley Power Station. 

This is not a replacement for evacuation in the event of an emergency, however. 

KI provides protection from radioiodine and should only be taken in the direction of state and local authorities when necessary. 

”For example, if there’s an accident that you would and you would take the medication to prevent radiation poisoning if you were to your thyroid gland. That’s about all it does. But that is one plan in which if you do have an accident at a nuclear power plant, radiation would find its way into the body very quickly.”

Howard Gamble – Director, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department

KI protects the thyroid gland by saturating the gland and allowing potential radioactive iodine to pass through the kidneys instead.   

Each adult received 4 tablets – two to take at the time of direction, and two as a follow up. 

This distribution also serves as a drill for all other health departments in the northern panhandle including Ohio, Wetzel, Tyler, Marshall and Brooke.