Who will receive preventive iodine treatment?

Iodine tablets will be sent to people in one of two target groups:

  1. Anyone aged under 41, in a 20km radius around a nuclear facility.
  2. Children under 18, living in a 20-100km radius around a nuclear facility.

There are two reasons for the age difference between the target groups:

  • The distance from home to the nuclear facility.
    The greater the distance to the nuclear facility, the lower the exposure to radioactive material.
  • The way the thyroid gland works.
    The older people are, the less likely they are to get thyroid cancer from exposure to radioactive iodine.
    Children under 18 are at greatest risk. That’s why iodine tablets will be distributed to children in a wider area (in a 100km radius around a nuclear facility).
    The risk is slightly lower for people between 18 and 41 years old, so preventive action is only effective for this age group if they live 20km or less from a nuclear facility.
    People over the age of 40 do not have a higher risk of thyroid cancer if they are exposed to radioactive iodine. Besides, the risk of side effects from taking iodine pills increases with age.

Pregnant women of all ages living in a 100km zone around a nuclear facility can take iodine pills to protect their unborn child in the event of a nuclear accident. From 9 October 2017 onwards, they will be able to buy iodine pills from a chemist or pharmacy (recommended retail price €2.95).

Target groups and zones, per nuclear facility*

Facility location

Type of nuclear facility

0-41 age group and pregnant women

0-18 age group and pregnant women

The Netherlands

Borssele Nuclear power plant 0-20 km 20-100 km
Delft** Research reactor n/a 0-0,5 km
Petten** Research reactor n/a 0-3 km


Doel Nuclear power plant 0-20 km 20-100 km
Tihange Nuclear power plant n/a 20-100 km
Mol** Research reactor 0-20 km n/a


Emsland** Nuclear power plant 0-25 km 25-100 km

* Where the 0-20km or 20-100km zone cuts through a municipality, iodine tablets will be distributed to all the postcodes in that municipality.

** Different distances apply to the research reactors in Delft, Petten and Mol, and the nuclear power plant in Emsland, because of their capacity.