Nuclear News - Nuclear Monitor #853 - 7 October 2017

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

German city of Aachen begins distributing iodine tablets

The western German city of Aachen has started issuing free iodine tablets to around 500,000 people because of the risks posed by Belgium's Tihange nuclear power plant, 70 km away.1,2 People can register on the city website to receive coupons exchangable at pharmacies stocking the pills. Each person can get a blister pack of six pills.

The plan is for people at risk in the event of an accident to have a supply to avoid the difficulty of distributing iodine tables after an accident has occurred, and because iodine is most effective if consumed in the hours before exposure to radioactive iodine.4 Aachen city spokesperson Markus Kremer said: "In everything we've done so far, we've tried to find a sensible way of communicating the necessary information. On the one hand, there is absolutely no point in people panicking, but we also don't want to downplay the risks."

There has been ongoing controversy over the safety of Belgium's reactors ‒ in particular Doel-3 and Tihange-2 ‒ including strenuous efforts by politicians and the public in neighboring countries to force the closure of the reactors.

In April 2016, Belgium's Health Minister Maggie De Block said that iodine pills will be supplied to all Belgians within a 100 km radius of a nuclear power plant ‒ all or almost all of Belgium's entire population of 11 million people.3

"We are a very small and densely populated country surrounded by nuclear power plants both in our country and neighboring countries" and iodine pills are "cheap and efficient", said Nele Scheerlinck, a spokesperson for Belgium's Federal Authority for Nuclear Control.

Following the Belgium government's April 2016 decision, the German state of North Rhine Westphalia (which includes Aachen) also decided to make iodine tablets available to its citizens.4

Belgium plans to shut down its seven power reactors by the end of 2025.

1. BBC, 1 Sept 2017, 'Germans in Aachen get free iodine amid Belgium nuclear fears',

2. Rebecca Joseph, 1 Sept 2017, 'German city hands out iodine pills to prevent cancer in preparation for a nuclear disaster',

3. Nuclear Monitor #823, 4 May 2016, 'All Belgians likely to be issued with iodine tablets',

4. Kate Brady, 24 May 2017, 'North Rhine-Westphalia prepares for Belgium nuclear accident with iodine tablets',

Jaitapur says a resounding 'Nako' (No!) to French nuclear project

20 August 2017 ‒ Thousands of men, women, and children from the farming, agro-trading, and fishing communities of Jaitapur in India's picturesque Ratnagiri District in Maharashtra, today courted arrest en-masse, after a march from Sakhri Nate to Madban village – the site of the upcoming Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park (slated to be the world's largest such nuclear power facility) – in the presence of heavily-armed state police personnel.

Today's massive and entirely peaceful protest against the setting up of the Nuclear Power Plant in this ecologically-rich but fragile zone, is of a piece with several such protests and jail-bharo campaigns which have been organized by these local communities in previous years.

Speaking to, Satyajit Chavan, young leader of the local community's protest group Jan Hakka Seva Samiti said – "it is shocking that the police used drones, hovering over the entire route of the demonstration and over our protest meeting, for the first time in our thoroughly peaceful protest that has been ongoing for years now. It is clearly a way for the state to project its power and intimidate people's struggles. It is unfortunate that the right of collective and democratic movement enshrined in our constitution is being undermined so brazenly."

Read the full article at DiaNuke: 'Jaitapur says a Resounding 'Nako' (No!) to French Nuclear Project', 20 Aug 2017,

See also:

Dianuke, 19 Aug 2017, 'In India's Jaitapur, Massive Protest This Weekend Against World's Largest Nuclear Plant Under Construction',

Kumar Sundaram, 29 Jan 2016, 'France Peddles Unsafe Nuclear Reactors to India, Drawing Protest',

Cameco settles US tax dispute

Canada's Cameco Corp. said on July 27 it had settled a US tax dispute for a fraction of the original claim. Cameco will pay the US Internal Revenue Service US$122,000, compared with the US$122 million the IRS claimed Cameco underpaid.

Cameco's dispute with tax authorities relates to its offshore marketing structure and transfer pricing. Cameco sells uranium to its marketing subsidiary in Switzerland, which re-sells it to buyers, incurring less tax than the company would through its Canadian office. Cameco says it has a marketing subsidiary in Switzerland because most of its customers are located outside Canada.

Cameco remains in dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency and acknowledged on July 27 that the dispute could cost the company US$1.92 billion.

Rod Nickel and Aparajita Saxena, 28 July 2017, 'Miner Cameco settles U.S. tax spat, bigger Canada fight looms',

More information: 'Cameco battling uranium downturn, tax office, TEPCO', Nuclear Monitor #842, 26 April 2017,