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article imageThyroid tablets being distributed in Vogtle power plant area

By Karen Graham     Jan 6, 2015 in Environment
Waynesboro - A grassroots environmental advocacy group will be going around to homes of residents living close to Georgia Power's Vogtle nuclear power facility soon, asking people to keep potassium iodide tablets in their cupboards. They are for emergency use only.
The local group, Concerned Citizens of Shell Bluff, is a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), and represents a small community a few miles from the power plant in eastern Burke County, Georgia.
The group will be distributing the FDA approved potassium iodide tablets that block the body's thyroid from absorbing a radioactive form of iodine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking the tablets only when advised to by public health or emergency management officials.
Lou Zeller, the executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League says the potassium iodide tablets are a precautionary measure only. The group will begin distributing the thyroid tablets at public meetings, along with instructions on when and how to take them. The first meeting is this coming Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bottsford Spring Baptist Church, 2154 Seven Oaks Road, in Waynesboro.
“They should sit on a shelf in the home in a dry place until an accident,” Zeller said. “It is more or less like a fire extinguisher or life preserver would be. When an accident would happen, you would take the pills right away.” Technical Education Research Centers, based in Cambridge, Mass. is funding the project.
Vogtle nuclear power plant  Waynesboro  Georgia.
Vogtle nuclear power plant, Waynesboro, Georgia.
Georgia Power
The Vogtle Electric Generating Plant is located in Waynesboro in Burke County, Georgia. Presently, the facility has two nuclear reactors, capable of producing 1,215 megawatts (Mw) each. Power is generated using pressurized water reactors manufactured by Westinghouse. The Vogtle plant is one of three in the Southern Company system, and is jointly owned by a conglomerate that includes "Georgia Power (45.7%), Oglethorpe Power Corporation (30%), Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7%) and Dalton Utilities (1.6%)," according to the Augusta Chronicle.
Construction going on with over 5 000 workers. The two reactors at the top-right of the picture are ...
Construction going on with over 5,000 workers. The two reactors at the top-right of the picture are the older reactors.
Georgia Power
Few people can imagine the scope and mammoth size of the Vogtle facility until they are standing there looking at it, and then comes the realization that two additional reactors are under construction. Along with the two new reactors under construction at Vogtle, there is another nuclear power plant being constructed in South Carolina, the first nuclear power facilities to be built in the U.S. in 30 years.
Reactor No. 3 will stand 600 feet tall when it is completed at the Vogtle power plant.
Reactor No. 3 will stand 600 feet tall when it is completed at the Vogtle power plant.
Georgia Power
Southern Company executives are banking on their belief that nuclear power will be cheaper "in the long-run." But with delays at the Vogtle site due to money problems, the finish date has continued to be pushed forward. Initially, the two reactors were to be up and running by 2017.
More about Vogtle Power plant, mammoth nuclear site, BREDL, potassium iodide, Georgia Power
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