Ukraine is being sent millions of potassium iodide tablets amid fears of a Chernobyl-style disaster at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The Ukrainian government requested the tablets from the European Union on August 26, with shelling ongoing near to what is Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

The facility fell into the hands of Vladimir Putin's Russian forces in the early days of the invasion, leading to a brief fire and warnings of a situation "10 times worse" than Chernobyl.

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In recent weeks civilians living nearby have been seen fleeing as heavy fighting resumed, and on Thursday (September 1) one of the reactors was temporarily shut down due to Russian shelling.

A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency reportedly arrived at Zaporizhzhia yesterday (Friday, September 2) to help ensure nuclear safety.

On Tuesday (August 30) the EU released a statement saying that the Emergency Response Coordination Centre had mobilised 5.5million potassium iodide tablets at Ukraine's request.

The tablets will cost a total of €500,000 (£432,000).

Janez Lenarčič, the EU's Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: "No nuclear power plant should ever be used as a war theatre. It is unacceptable that civilian lives are put in danger.

"All military action around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant must stop immediately.

"The EU is pre-emptively delivering five million potassium iodide tablets to Ukraine from the rescEU strategic reserves to offer people protection in case of exposure to high levels of radiation.

"I want to thank Austria for donating an additional 500,000 tablets to Ukraine.

"We will continue to be on the lookout and stand ready to act, because preparedness saves lives."

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Potassium iodide can help prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid if taken before or shortly after exposure, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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