In response to mounting worries about the shelling at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and the potential for a radioactive release, the European Union is planning to deliver 5.5 million potassium iodide tablets to Ukraine, the bloc’s executive arm has announced.

According to the European Commission, the Ukrainian government requested iodine pills on Friday as a “preventative safety measure” for residents living near nuclear facilities.

On Tuesday, Janez Lenarcic, the bloc’s top official for crisis management, stated: “No nuclear power plant should ever be used as a war theatre,”, Adding “It is unacceptable that civilian lives are put in danger. We will continue to be on the lookout and stand ready to act.”

Ukrainian officials have already begun disseminating iodine pills to residents living near the facility in order to safeguard them from radiation-induced thyroid cancer.

The five million pills were donated from a joint reserve of 20 million created by the bloc in April in response to nuclear fallout fears. Hundreds of Europeans rushed to pharmacies in the early days of the war to stock up on iodine pills as fighting raged around a different nuclear plant, in Chornobyl. In Belgium, which provides free iodine tablets, nearly 30,000 were distributed in a single day.

In case of an emergency, the remaining 15 million tablets can be distributed from a warehouse in Germany. In addition, Austria donated 500,000 pills to Ukraine from its national reserves.

Ukraine is still scarred by the 1986 Chornobyl meltdown, widely regarded as the worst nuclear disaster in history. The increased alert comes as conditions in and around the Russian-controlled plant, which is located in the middle of a war zone, continue to deteriorate.

People who live within 35 miles of the plant are now receiving iodine pills from the authorities. In the event of an unintentional radiation leak, that region, where an estimated 400,000 people are residing in both Ukrainian and Russian-occupied territory, would be most at risk.

To ensure that inhaled or ingested radioactive iodine is not retained, potassium iodide, also known by the chemical symbol KI, is used to completely saturate the thyroid gland with iodine.

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