Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

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Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by raptor » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:10 am

If lived in Belgium this would certainly get my attention. I am always in favor of preparation but I also think this is more of a placebo and that action to fix the problem is a better plan.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/belgians-iod ... tml?ref=gs
Brussels (AFP) - Belgium is to provide iodine pills to its entire population of around 11 million people to protect against radioactivity in case of a nuclear accident, the health minister was quoted as saying Thursday.

The move comes as Belgium faces growing pressure from neighbouring Germany to shutter two ageing nuclear power plants near their border due to concerns over their safety.

Iodine pills, which help reduce radiation build-up in the thyroid gland, had previously only been given to people living within 20 kilometres (14 miles) of the Tihange and Doel nuclear plants.

Health Minister Maggie De Block was quoted by La Libre Belgique newspaper as telling parliament that the range had now been expanded to 100 kilometres (60 miles), effectively covering the whole country.

Edited to add:
When I say placebo iodine pills are effective in protecting the thyroid gland but nothing else. I have always said that I will take iodine tablets while I running as fast as I can in the opposite direction of a radiation source.

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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by phil_in_cs » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:25 pm

It is quite effective for certain types of fallout, but... wow. I mean, I've got some but I'm a child of the cold war. Seems almost crazy for me to buy them, much less for a nation in Europe to deal them out to the entire nation.

They know something we don't know?

Hopefully it's just something like the health minister's brother in law just bought a ton of stock in the pharmaceutical supplier.
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by aikorob » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:04 pm

phil_in_cs wrote:It is quite effective for certain types of fallout, but... wow. I mean, I've got some but I'm a child of the cold war. Seems almost crazy for me to buy them, much less for a nation in Europe to deal them out to the entire nation.

They know something we don't know?

Hopefully it's just something like the health minister's brother in law just bought a ton of stock in the pharmaceutical supplier.
or the jihadi video of the Belgian nuclear boss going to and from his house?
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by Maeklos » Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:32 pm

Probably started by some local news source capitalizing on the recent attack to spread general fear and sell news. "Ermagerd! Our nuclear plants are old! What if teh bad guyz blowed dem up! We'd all be radioactive!"
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by The Twizzler » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:41 pm

My inner conspiracy theorist says- " Forget about the radiation it's a red herring, something may get in the water supply and if it does this way everyone will have iodine purification without causing a panic. Everyone will be so concentrated on the relatively unlikely chance of radiation they won't bother to think about their water."
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by The Twizzler » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:45 pm

Everyone worried about fluoridation in the water when they should have worried about women stealing your essence.
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by phil_in_cs » Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:38 am

The Twizzler wrote:Everyone worried about fluoridation in the water when they should have worried about women stealing your essence.
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Exactly. Deny them your essence and you will be ok.

Remember the way an group wins an asymmetrical / 4GW war is to cause fear and uncertainty which causes the enemy to overreact, spending himself into oblivion. Making some videos and threats is very cheap, and causes over reactions that cost significant amounts of money. They create a threat for $250 and we spend a billion reacting to it; they perform an act that costs them $25,000 and 5 people, ad we spend $50 billion a year forever to try to prevent that exact act from happening again. We should be aware of the reality involved, but we should not take counsel from our fears.

raptors initial point in valid. This stuff is good for some kinds of fall out, but if the terrorists did cause any sort of accident it's going to be the bug out boogie. Belgium is about the size of Maryland, and if the accident is serious people will want to get farther away than that. Heck, nuclear causes such fear the panic flight would happen even if it isn't serious.
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Belgium to Issue Iodine Pills to Citizens

Post by radicalreverie » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:19 am

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/belgi ... an-n564606

Give me zombies, give me natural disasters, give me anything but a world bathed in Nuclear Fallout. I think if there’s any PAW scenario I worry about the most, it would be something along the lines of nuclear facilities being used as weapons to ‘poison’ everyone. The reason? The level of control over your fate drops considerably, imo, and the long-term effects could potentially be devastating for years to come (not that zombies couldn't be, too, or any biological attack for that matter, but let's not get off topic even if they could be considered one in the same). Look at Japan and their ongoing disaster.

This could be something to pay attention to for a while at least. What would you do in a nuclear catastrophe? Is it something to worry about? Feel free to share your thoughts!
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Re: Belgium to Issue Iodine Pills to Citizens

Post by Stercutus » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:41 am

The issue here appears to be the potential construction and use of a dirty bomb.

This is not a disaster.

Hopefully it never will be but some people suck.

To me a dirty bomb means I am gone, ASAP, probably forever as there is nothing I can do about it.
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by sheddi » Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:32 am

I've merged the DICE thread into this one.

The more level-headed press are pitching this as a consequence of the slightly-iffy nature of Belgium's nuclear power plants. Here's a report from DW:

Belgium says its nuclear plants are safe but here are some iodine pills - just in case
http://www.dw.com/en/belgium-says-its-n ... a-19223966
Belgian Health Minister Maggie De Block was quoted Thursday by the La Libre Belgique newspaper as telling parliament that people living within a 100-kilometer (60-mile) radius would be provided iodine pills as protection in case of a radiation leak.

Iodine supplements, which help reduce radiation buildup in the thyroid gland, have previously been given to people living within 20 kilometers of the troubled Tihange and Doel nuclear plants.

But because of Belgium's relatively small size - it's only 300 kilometers at its widest point - the expanded range would effectively cover the majority of Belgium's 11-million population.

The leader of Belgium's French-speaking Green party, Jean-Marc Nollet, backed the iodine pill distribution scheme but added that "just because everyone will get these pills doesn't mean there is no longer any nuclear risk," La Libre Belgique reported.

There was no mention in the proposal of including the 240,000 people in the German city of Aachen - 71 kilometers from the Tihange reactors. The proximity of the plant has been a source of friction between Belgium and Germany.

Germany asked last month that the 40-year-old Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors be turned off "until the resolution of outstanding security issues."

Pressure vessels at both reactor sites have shown signs of metal degradation, raising fears about their safety. They were temporarily closed but resumed service last December.

Belgium's nuclear safety agency (AFCN) rejected Berlin's request, claiming that the two plants "respond to the strictest possible safety requirements."

It insists that its reactors, despite technical faults and an unsolved sabotage incident that occurred at around the time of the terror attacks in Brussels, comply with stringent international safety standards.
Although the "unsolved sabotage incident" sounds a little worrying :?
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by raptor » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:55 am

I agree that this is not a disaster and it appears to have to do with aging nuclear power plants apparently in need of some serious maintenance; at least in the opinion of some German and apparently even some Belgian experts.

BTW the nuclear power plants are close to Germany. I wonder if Belgium gave those folks iodine pills.

At the risk of being Capt. Obvious. If you are ever of the opinion you need to take iodine pills, you should do so while running, not walking, to some form of transport to move away from the threat ASAP.

When it comes to radiation distance from the radiation source is a very good effective defense against the damage caused by radation.

Lead and concrete make decent shields but 100 miles of distance from source the is much better than either.
Last edited by raptor on Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by Stercutus » Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:40 pm

raptor wrote:I agree that this is not a disaster and it appears to have to do with aging nuclear power plants apparently in need of some serious maintenance; at least in the opinion of some German and apparently even some Belgian experts.

BTW the nuclear power plants are close to Germany. I wonder if Belgium gave those folks iodine pills.

At the risk of being Capt. Obvious. If you are ever of the opinion you need to take iodine pills, you should do so while running, not walking, to some form of transport to move away from the threat ASAP.

When it comes to radiation distance from the radiation source is a very good effective defense against the damage caused by radation.

Lead and concrete make decent shields but 100 miles of distance from the is much better than either.
I have already let the boss know at work that when the balloon goes up at the plant I am gone like yesterday. She then told me I'd probably be following her out.

There was a bit about dirty bombs:

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-t ... ve-n527626
Mohamed Bakkali, who rented the home where the films were seized in a raid, was captured on Nov. 26 and has been charged with engaging in terrorist activity and murder stemming from his alleged involvement in the Nov. 13, 2015 siege in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more.

Belgian authorities have since speculated that the group was trying to figure out a way to collect materials from the nuclear center as the first step in building a bomb.

"We can imagine that the terrorists might want to kidnap someone or kidnap his family," so they can force their target to turn over the radioactive innards of such a device after removing the materials surreptitiously, said Nele Scheerlinck, a spokeswoman for Belgium's Federal Agency for Nuclear Control, the nation's nuclear regulator.
They are saying it has nothing to do with the safety of the plants:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/belgi ... an-n564606
She added: "It is not linked with the safety of our nuclear plants. The recommendation came after Fukushima … because obviously after Fukushima, we have more information regarding nuclear risks."
So I don't know.
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Re: Belgium to Issue Iodine Pills to Citizens

Post by The Twizzler » Sun May 01, 2016 1:37 am

Don't worry about it to much. Fallout implies there was an explosion that threw radioactive material into the air and what goes up must come down. If you are caught in the blast wave you won't know. If you are 100 miles away you will probably be fine depending on wind patters. That kind of radiation, as far as I know, is more concentrated (meaning it is easier to clean up). Sure cancer rates will go up, but just for the immediate survivors. The real problems are when you have a meltdown like Chernobyl. The radiation leaked slowly into the atmosphere but it didn't stop for a long time, unlike in an explosion where a large amount is emitted but only for an instant. Also it would have helped immensely at Chernobyl if they had used water as a coolant. Think of it this way Hiroshima was rebuilt in 10 years, It has been over 20 years at Chernobyl and we still cant go there.



radicalreverie wrote:http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/belgi ... an-n564606

Give me zombies, give me natural disasters, give me anything but a world bathed in Nuclear Fallout. I think if there’s any PAW scenario I worry about the most, it would be something along the lines of nuclear facilities being used as weapons to ‘poison’ everyone. The reason? The level of control over your fate drops considerably, imo, and the long-term effects could potentially be devastating for years to come (not that zombies couldn't be, too, or any biological attack for that matter, but let's not get off topic even if they could be considered one in the same). Look at Japan and their ongoing disaster.

This could be something to pay attention to for a while at least. What would you do in a nuclear catastrophe? Is it something to worry about? Feel free to share your thoughts!
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by The Twizzler » Sun May 01, 2016 1:44 am

Nuclear site security is an issue in the US. Here in East TN about a year ago 3 elderly activist actually managed to break into the control room at the Oak Ridge Reactor and wrote anti war messages on the walls with red paint. This is a problem not just because it is an active nuclear reactor but Oak ridge is where the Federal goverment makes it's nuclear warheads. If the name Oak Ridge name seems familiar it's where half the development for the Manhattan Project took place. I believe the oldest of the group was an 85 yr old former nun. :shock:


sheddi wrote:I've merged the DICE thread into this one.

The more level-headed press are pitching this as a consequence of the slightly-iffy nature of Belgium's nuclear power plants. Here's a report from DW:

Belgium says its nuclear plants are safe but here are some iodine pills - just in case
http://www.dw.com/en/belgium-says-its-n ... a-19223966
Belgian Health Minister Maggie De Block was quoted Thursday by the La Libre Belgique newspaper as telling parliament that people living within a 100-kilometer (60-mile) radius would be provided iodine pills as protection in case of a radiation leak.

Iodine supplements, which help reduce radiation buildup in the thyroid gland, have previously been given to people living within 20 kilometers of the troubled Tihange and Doel nuclear plants.

But because of Belgium's relatively small size - it's only 300 kilometers at its widest point - the expanded range would effectively cover the majority of Belgium's 11-million population.

The leader of Belgium's French-speaking Green party, Jean-Marc Nollet, backed the iodine pill distribution scheme but added that "just because everyone will get these pills doesn't mean there is no longer any nuclear risk," La Libre Belgique reported.

There was no mention in the proposal of including the 240,000 people in the German city of Aachen - 71 kilometers from the Tihange reactors. The proximity of the plant has been a source of friction between Belgium and Germany.

Germany asked last month that the 40-year-old Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors be turned off "until the resolution of outstanding security issues."

Pressure vessels at both reactor sites have shown signs of metal degradation, raising fears about their safety. They were temporarily closed but resumed service last December.

Belgium's nuclear safety agency (AFCN) rejected Berlin's request, claiming that the two plants "respond to the strictest possible safety requirements."

It insists that its reactors, despite technical faults and an unsolved sabotage incident that occurred at around the time of the terror attacks in Brussels, comply with stringent international safety standards.
Although the "unsolved sabotage incident" sounds a little worrying :?
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Re: Belgium to Issue Iodine Pills to Citizens

Post by Maeklos » Sun May 01, 2016 2:30 am

The Twizzler wrote:Don't worry about it to much. Fallout implies there was an explosion that threw radioactive material into the air and what goes up must come down. If you are caught in the blast wave you won't know. If you are 100 miles away you will probably be fine depending on wind patters. That kind of radiation, as far as I know, is more concentrated (meaning it is easier to clean up). Sure cancer rates will go up, but just for the immediate survivors. The real problems are when you have a meltdown like Chernobyl. The radiation leaked slowly into the atmosphere but it didn't stop for a long time, unlike in an explosion where a large amount is emitted but only for an instant. Also it would have helped immensely at Chernobyl if they had used water as a coolant. Think of it this way Hiroshima was rebuilt in 10 years, It has been over 20 years at Chernobyl and we still cant go there.
This is why most conventional nuclear weapons are designed to be airbursting warheads - they do the most immediate damage in the largest area from the pressure wave of the blast. Most of the fallout is also carried upward, where it will spend years or decades in the stratosphere - long enough for most of the dangerously radioactive elements to be no longer much of a worry. What little bit of fallout does get carried by lower winds will typically fall into the ocean.

Groundbursting explosions are typically the deadliest in terms of radioactivity. The blast wave gets scrambled by ground effects, causing much of the fallout to land in the vicinity of the blast itself, with some of the fallout being carried dozens or hundreds of miles downwind. Chernobyl is a good example of this, as are all the at-ground and below-ground nuclear tests carried out. So far as I know, none of the major nuclear powers possess bombs designed in this manner (anymore) - the neutron bomb was designed to do so, but the last few of these warheads in US hands were disassembled in 2003, and none of the other powers that had tested them (USSR, France, China) ever produced them. Though, accounts say that Israel has produced quite a stockpile of neutron bombs.
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Re: Belgium to Issue Iodine Pills to Citizens

Post by sheddi » Sun May 01, 2016 10:24 am

Maeklos wrote:So far as I know, none of the major nuclear powers possess bombs designed in this manner (anymore) ...
If you believe the internet then both W76 and W88 have impact/contact (ie. ground-burst) fuses.

(There may be others in the US stockpile, I stopped after checking Trident II SLBM warheads.)

Anyway, the Belgians probably aren't handing out iodine tablets because of potential attacks by state actors with ICBMs, and terrorist dirty bombs aren't likely to use I-131 for reasons discussed earlier in this thread. They seem to think that there's a small-but-not-incredible chance of one of their (or, possibly, someone else's) reactors letting go, and that's got them spooked.
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Re: Belgium to Issue Iodine Pills to Citizens

Post by Maeklos » Sun May 01, 2016 12:14 pm

sheddi wrote:
Maeklos wrote:So far as I know, none of the major nuclear powers possess bombs designed in this manner (anymore) ...
If you believe the internet then both W76 and W88 have impact/contact (ie. ground-burst) fuses.

(There may be others in the US stockpile, I stopped after checking Trident II SLBM warheads.)
Hm, I stand corrected! Most of the research I'd done dealt with enhanced radiation weapons, and how the superpowers had tossed them aside due to the fact that modern military vehicles are generally hardened enough to prevent the worst of the damage from the massive radiation released. Also the fact that ER weapons were seen as a 'capitalist' weapon, as they were designed to kill people but leave infrastructure, arms, and materiel relatively intact.
Politics is like having two handfuls of shit - one that smells bad and one that looks bad - and having to decide which one to put in your mouth.

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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by Stercutus » Sun May 01, 2016 12:17 pm

Wikipedia provides a few possibilities:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doel_Nucl ... er_Station


In August 2014 there was a major incident in the non-nuclear part of the plant: the main turbine overheated when it suddenly found itself operating without oil. Rather than a leak it turned out that a valve was opened which rapidly evacuated the 65,000 liters of oil to an underground storage tank. This procedure is to be used in case of fire and is normally secured with a padlock.[18] Hence authorities and the plant operator suspect that this was an act of deliberate sabotage. The unit was eventually back on the grid at 19 December 2014. Combined with the outage of Doel 3 and Tihange 2 blackouts were not ruled out for the winter period of 2014-2015.[19]
By answering a question of die Grünen in the Bundestag, the German parliament, the German government replied that the Belgian nuclear power plants do not have filtered containment venting systems installed. In German nuclear reactors these were already built in after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986, other countries followed this example, latest after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. This kind of system allows for the containment pressure to be relieved in the event of a severe accident. The non-condensible gases that cause the pressure within containment to rise are released through a stack (or chimney) via a filtration system which removes large quantities of fission products from the effluent. According to the German Government, the nuclear reactors in Tihange are missing these emergency pressure filters too.[7] This news caused quite some unrest in the national and local press around these nuclear reactors.[8][9][10][11][12]
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by B&Q » Sun May 01, 2016 12:27 pm

According to this BBC News report

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36157806
...
The Dutch government updated its policy on iodine tablets last month, so that pregnant women and under-eighteens are given the pills within 100km of the Borssele and Doel reactors.
...
Claims are this is in the wake of lessons learned from Fukushima and governments are updating their plans accordingly.

That's possible, but NW Europe is one of the most geologically inert places on the planet, so the threat is likely different. It may also be that the cost of preparing in advance is negligible so why not just do it?

I do think that if the reactors had a significant chance of failing, Belgium would have no choice but to shut them down. It's also interesting that this action will do nothing to endear Belgium to Germany, which has taken a very anti-nuclear stance since Fukushima.

It's anybodies guess IMHO.

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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by Maeklos » Sun May 01, 2016 1:00 pm

Looking at subsequent posts...could this possibly be an extremely long-sighted measure just in case of a potential war with Russia? As I recall, a year or two ago Putin took many of the safeguards off of Russia's nuclear arsenal, to the point where tactical nuclear strikes became an integral part of any defensive strategy.
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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by B&Q » Sun May 01, 2016 1:18 pm

Maeklos wrote:Looking at subsequent posts...could this possibly be an extremely long-sighted measure just in case of a potential war with Russia? As I recall, a year or two ago Putin took many of the safeguards off of Russia's nuclear arsenal, to the point where tactical nuclear strikes became an integral part of any defensive strategy.
You have no doubt hit the nail on the head. Consider that NATO is based in Belgium and an Iodine pill is a bomb-shelter in a packet.

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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by Maeklos » Sun May 01, 2016 5:50 pm

B&Q wrote: You have no doubt hit the nail on the head. Consider that NATO is based in Belgium and an Iodine pill is a bomb-shelter in a packet.
I know the Soviets stockpiled potassium iodide pills for their entire populace, as well as ensuring that there were adequate fallout shelters for everyone. Having seen firsthand true carnage and social destruction at the hand of the Nazis, they believed they could withstand a nuclear engagement with the US so long as at least a portion of their population survived. The US and NATO did not believe a nuclear war would be winnable at all, so never really bothered to take much in the way of precautions - at least compared to the Soviets.

Now, with MAD put to the back burner and the possibility of limited nuclear engagement in European theatres moved to the fore, could be that NATO policy is changing. Makes me wonder if we'll start seeing reinforced "emergency shelters" cropping up in Belgium and other NATO countries "in case of nuclear accidents or terrorist attacks".
Politics is like having two handfuls of shit - one that smells bad and one that looks bad - and having to decide which one to put in your mouth.

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Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by LowKey » Sun May 01, 2016 11:32 pm

Maeklos wrote:
B&Q wrote: Makes me wonder if we'll start seeing reinforced "emergency shelters" cropping up in Belgium and other NATO countries "in case of nuclear accidents or terrorist attacks".
Look at the Moscow subway system, and the Soviet era constructed subway systems of most larger cites of the former Soviet Union. The escalator ride down into the subway in Kiev takes more than a few minutes to reach the bottom.


Look for underground rail stations.
“Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” Robert A. Heinlein

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kippure
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:54 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Belgium to Provide 11 Million People With Iodine Pills?!

Post by kippure » Sun May 08, 2016 7:40 am

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Government here in Ireland decided to issue Iodine tablets to every household - it all began with a cringe inducing interview with the Minister for State:

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/fu ... 75654.html

I've still got the pack, but they've long since expired. And they have never been re-issued:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/ha ... 59456.html

It's worth stating that there are no nuclear plants in Ireland, the concern was that a plant in the UK e.g. Sellafield would be attacked.

ISIS have a penchant for attention grabbing attacks, and nothing would grab more worldwide attention as easily as targeting a nuclear plant - even if it was wholly ineffective, there would be a panic.

There's always the chance that they'll go with a "dirty" bomb too. Again, it need not be terribly sophisticated, or effective, but that wouldn't stop the reaction.

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