Iodine tablets are one of the Swiss Confederation’s precautionary measures to protect the population in the event of a major accident at one of the country’s nuclear power plants. Taking the tablets prevents radioactive iodine from being absorbed into the thyroid gland. The tablets are issued every ten years to all persons living within 50 kilometres of a Swiss nuclear power plant. The new (potassium iodide 65 SERB) iodine tablets for 2023 in their orange packaging will be distributed to the households concerned between mid-October and mid-November. They replace the existing iodine tablets in their purple packaging.
Distribution to some four million people
The 2023 iodine tablets will be issued to all persons living within a 50-kilometre radius of any of Switzerland’s active nuclear power plants (Beznau 1, Beznau 2, Gösgen and Leibstadt). This amounts to around four million people. All inhabitants of the areas concerned will receive a package of iodine tablets by post, along with information on what they are for, how they work, how they should be stored and when and how to take them.
Distribution area reduced following closure of Mühleberg power plant
The Mühleberg nuclear power plant was removed from the Swiss energy grid in 2019 and is currently being dismantled. As a result, numerous municipalities in Cantons Bern, Solothurn, Fribourg, Neuchâtel and Vaud no longer lie within a 50-kilometre radius of a nuclear power plant, and thus no longer need to have iodine tablets distributed directly to their residents. For these areas, iodine tablet supplies will in future be stored centrally by the cantons concerned.
Supplies assured for the entire Swiss population
Sufficient quantities of iodine tablets are available in Switzerland to swiftly supply the country’s entire population should this be required. People living within the 50-kilometre-radius distribution zone are intentionally provided with more tablets than they would need themselves, so that any relatives or visitors who have not been issued with them (or do not have them on their person) could also be given them in an emergency situation. In those parts of Switzerland which are outside the 50-kilometre-radius distribution zone, the cantonal authorities maintain sufficient stocks of iodine tablets to ensure that these can be issued to all their inhabitants in good time should the need arise.
Distribution to business entities and public institutions in early 2024
Following their issue to households, the new iodine tablets will also be distributed to business entities (commerce, industry, companies etc.) and public institutions (schools, day care centres, hospitals, authorities etc.) in the first quarter of 2024. All such recipients will be provided with detailed information about the issue and the use of iodine tablets at the end of November.