The Department of Health starts to issue iodine tablets to every household in the country.
The distribution of the tablets, through An Post, is part of the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents. It is expected that every home will have received the tablets by 5 July. In total, 2.1 million packs of iodine tablets will be issued.
Since the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, Health Boards around the country have kept a supply of iodine tablets which can help to stop the body absorbing radioactive iodine. Following the attacks on the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001, the action emergency plan for nuclear disasters took on a new urgency and preventative measures were stepped up.
Commenting on the distribution of the tablets Dr Brian O'Herlihy said
Ideally, these tablets, if they are to be effective, should be taken before people are exposed to radioactive material.
Inside each pack is an orange box containing the iodine tablets. According to the Department of Health, the tablets themselves are not dangerous but should be stored with the same care as any other medicines.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 June 2002. The reporter is Vivienne Traynor.