High-dosage iodine tablets - the scientifically correct name is potassium iodide tablets - saturate the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine. If taken in time, they prevent the accumulation of radioactive iodine in the thyroid.
Should radioactive iodine be released into the environment as a consequence of a severe nuclear accident the authorities will distribute iodine tablets free of charge to the population in the affected areas.
It is reassuring to know that in Germany enough iodine tablets are held in stock to ensure the sufficient supply of the affected population - especially for children and teenagers.
For distances up to 100 kilometres around a nuclear power plant, the emergency response authorities plan to stockpile and distribute iodine tablets for all persons up to 45 years of age. For areas further away, stockpiling and distribution is done for children and teenagers up to 18 years of age and pregnant women.