agencies. Before the September 11, 2001, attacks, few states were prepared to distribute KI to the general population. After the attacks and the offering of KI by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, several states began KI distribution programs. The decisions of states regarding whether to distribute are discussed with the experiences of the states that decided to distribute KI. The chapter then discusses the elements of state distribution programs, highlighting options and limitations to consider in planning such programs. Finally, some obstacles to and limitations of distribution efforts are summarized with observations regarding improvements to overcome them.

International Experience with Potassium Iodide and Other Countermeasures in Nuclear Emergency

Guidelines and Database

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have published general recommendations for countermeasures in the case of a nuclear emergency: the International Basic Safety Standards for Protection Against Ionising Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources (IAEA, 1996) and the Guidelines for Stable Iodine Prophylaxis Following Nuclear Accidents (WHO 1989, Update 1999). However, radiological emergency preparedness and rules for countermeasures differ from country to country. The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) initiated a questionnaire-based evaluation of short-term countermeasures in March 2001. The results of this evaluation have recently been published under the title Short-term Countermeasures in the Case of Nuclear or Radiological Emergency (NEA/OECD, 2003)1. The NEA distributed questionnaires to its 22 European and 6 non-European member countries. It received 15 completed questionnaires—from Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, the


The report is available at the OECD/NEA publication services (email:

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