Someone I know quite well wrote the following letter to the NY Times and it was of course published! Peter Crane fought for KI distribution both while employed by NRC and post-employment. An honorable man and dedicated civil servant now retired.
“To the Editor:
The detection of radioactive iodine 131 in Tokyo’s drinking water (“Anxiety Up as Tokyo Issues Warning on Its Tap Water,” front page, March 24), in amounts considered unhealthy for children, makes clear that potassium iodide must be administered if children are to be adequately protected against thyroid cancer caused by ingested and inhaled iodine 131. Interdiction of milk supplies, though important, is plainly insufficient.
Japan’s apparent preparedness with potassium iodide contrasts with the situation in the United States. In response to 9/11, Congress passed a law to create stockpiles of potassium iodide for populations within a 20-mile radius of nuclear reactors, rather than the 10-mile radius within which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission offers it to states that request it.
But the N.R.C., which had opposed the law, fought successfully to keep it from taking effect. In 2008 President George W. Bush’s science adviser, John H. Marburger III, declared that potassium iodide was not needed beyond the 10-mile radius, and that the law therefore would not be implemented.
The events in Japan demand that the Obama administration act quickly to reverse this unjustified rejection of a sensible law.”
Seattle, March 24, 2011
The writer is a retired lawyer with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.