Nine nuclear incidents occurred in Belgium in 2017, data from the Federal Nuclear Control Agency, showed in January.
The area of free distribution of iodine tablets, believed to be effective against radiation and cancer caused by radioactive substances, has been widened to within 100 kilometers of nuclear sites as a precautionary measure prompted by recent incidents at the country’s nuclear facilities.
“I live about 10 kilometers (6 miles) away from a nuclear plant, if it is going to blow up, it’s going to blow up and this isn’t going to save my life,” a Brussels resident said.
Many have expressed concerns about Belgium’s ageing nuclear plants Tihange and Doel, which are both over 40 years-old and suffered nine incidents last year alone.
Belgium’s neighbors are also worried about the safety of the kingdom’s dilapidated nuclear reactors.
In 2016, Germany asked Belgium to shut down its two reactors because of defects found in their pressure vessels. After Brussels refused, citizens of the western Germany city of Aachen, located 70 kilometers (43 miles) away from the Tihange nuclear plant, started getting free iodine tablets.
As part of its energy transition program, Germany plans to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 and move from fossil fuel-based energy generation to a largely carbon-free energy sector.