Potassium iodide pills, to be distributed to residents in case of a nuclear accident, have been handed over to the municipalities of Vilnius and Švenčionys, Lithuania's south eastern regions bordering Belarus.
Lithuania’s Health Emergency Situation Centre (ESSC) handed over the pills ahead of the opening of the Belarussian nuclear power plant in Astravyets, some 50 kilometres from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
It is up for the local authorities to decide the way the pills will be distributed to people. The pills will first reach Lithuanian residents living within the 30-kilometre radius from the Astravyets NPP.
Vilnius District municipality has received 29,000 pills and Švenčionys District got over 95,000 pills.
The fact that the distribution of potassium iodide pills has started way before the launch of the nuclear facility in Belarus shows that “all responsible institutions have done their job”, said Lithuanian Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga.
“The other important task is for people to listen to the specialists’ advice and use these pills when needed and in the appropriate way,” the minister added.
Lithuania has purchased 4 million potassium iodide pills for over 1 million euros to protect people from radiation in case of a nuclear accident.
The country has been opposing the construction of Astravyets NPP, saying the facility does not meet the security standards.
Belarusian officials have said the date of the Astravyets NPP’s first reactor’s “physical launch” will be revealed over the upcoming week. The nuclear facility should reach its full capacity by February 2021.