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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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Public perceptions of the iodine tablets distribution around French nuclear power plants

S.Charron, J. Brenot IRPA-10: 10. international congress of the International Radiation Protection Association Hiroshima (Japan) 14-19 May 2000, P-10-164.

Summary

In April 1996 the French Ministry of Health decided to distribute stable iodine tablets to the population living in the vicinity of all nuclear power plants (NPP) in France. In case of a severe nuclear accident, the intake of stable iodine would prevent irradiation of the thyroid by the radioactive iodine released by the plant. This preventive distribution began in late 1996 around four pilot sites (Chooz, Fessenheim, Golfech, and Saint Alban) and was extended to all French sites in 1997. During this period, IRSN conducted two large opinion surveys which contained questions about countermeasures and, more specifically, about the distribution of stable iodine tablets. The goal was to know whether the general public was aware of this decision and to obtain feedback about its reactions. This paper presents a detailed analysis of the two sets of responses made by the public, at the beginning and at the end of the information campaign that accompanied this distribution. Responses are compared, their consistency evaluated, and the relation between distance to the nearest nuclear site and public responses analysed.

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