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Niigata &iodine stockpiling

May 13, 2014

Govt. checks Niigata's iodine tablet stockpiles




Officials from Japan's central government are checking whether Niigata Prefecture is properly stockpiling iodine tablets in case of a nuclear accident. The prefecture is home to the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant, the largest in Japan.

Prefectural governments are required to store iodine tablets that can be handed out in an emergency to people living within 30 kilometers of a nuclear facility. The tablets are said to prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine.

Niigata's prefectural government was found last month to have failed to procure some 1.3 million tablets needed for its residents. It reportedly neglected to make the purchase for more than one year. Officials say they have since secured more than half the necessary amount.

Cabinet Office inspectors in charge of nuclear disaster prevention began investigating storage sites in Niigata on Tuesday.

At a facility in Kashiwazaki City, officials checked the condition and expiry dates of 5,000 tablets. The city is about 7 kilometers away from the nuclear plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Company.

A prefectural official in charge of pharmaceutical affairs said he hopes the 3-day inspection will help Niigata regain residents' trust.

Cabinet Office inspectors are also checking inventories at 23 other prefectures that are home to nuclear plants or lie within the 30-kilometer radius.

May 13, 2014 - Updated 03:51 UTC

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