The EU is trying to increase stocks of iodine pills and nuclear protective gear

According to EU officials, Brussels has accelerated plans to improve EU health measures in the event of a nuclear incident following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission is trying to encourage EU members to stockpile iodine tablets, hazmat suits and other medicines. It is also working on ways to deal with possible chemical and biological attacks after the US warned that Russia could use such weapons in Ukraine.

A spokesman for the commission said: “The commission is working to ensure that it improves preparedness on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CRBN) threats in general, ahead of the war in Ukraine.”

The step is coming, as Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, put it nuclear weapons Forces on high alert.

Earlier this month, pharmacies ran out in countries like Belgium, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic iodine pills after Russian troops attacked and damaged a Ukrainian nuclear power plant. The attack sparked warnings about the risks if a radioactive leak spreads across the continent.

Such leaks release radioactive iodine, which accumulates in the thyroid gland when inhaled and can lead to cancer. Potassium iodine tablets saturate the gland with iodine, preventing absorption of the radioactive material.

Brussels is applying the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has hit Europe without adequate supplies of personal protective equipment or a vaccine.

Last September she founded the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) to identify and be prepared for possible future health emergencies.

MEPs say HERA needs to move faster to keep up with developments in Ukraine.

Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, MEP for French President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party, said: “We must learn strong lessons from Covid. We call for specific measures for nuclear sites. We are not ready. We don’t have the stocks.”

“We have a nuclear threat from a madman from the Kremlin,” she said. “We need a European stockpile and a warning and surveillance system. We need to run simulations to be ready.”

National governments decide on most health matters in the EU, but the Covid crisis prompted more joint action in Brussels, such as B. the procurement of vaccines.

In an emergency, HERA takes over the reaction. It will activate funding and establish mechanisms for monitoring, targeted development, procurement and purchase of medical countermeasures and raw materials. It also has manufacturing facilities ready to meet drug demand. The EU is trying to increase stocks of iodine pills and nuclear protective gear

Adam Bradshaw

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