What If Ukraine Goes Nuclear, Asks Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP)

Sept 29, 2022

Tucson, Ariz. Russia and the United States have been reminding each other that they both possess nuclear weapons and would use them in certain circumstances. While Armageddon cannot be ruled out, the issue of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine is also of concern, states Doctors for Disaster Preparedness.

The largest nuclear generating station in Europe, Zaporizhzhya was occupied by Russian forces early in the conflict. It has been subjected to heavy artillery shelling, and release of radioactive materials from on-site storage of radioactive waste is feared. The effect would be like that of a “dirty bomb.” The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is on site to investigate the source of the shelling.

There is heavy demand in Europe and the U.S. for potassium iodide pills, for example, ThyroSafe, which are available without prescription from many vendors.

In Belgium, nearly 30,000 residents went to pharmacies for free pills after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia was putting its nuclear deterrent forces on high alert, according to Brussels Times. A report by Bloomberg said there is a 100-fold increase in demand for potassium iodide tablets in Finland since the Russia-Ukraine war began.

“Potassium iodide is not an anti-radiation pill,” states DDP president Jane Orient, M.D. “It is absorbed by the thyroid gland and prevents uptake of radioactive iodine, which could harm the gland or induce cancer.”

“I-131, which has a half-life of about 8 days is not the only radioactive component. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years,” she stated. “Contamination of crops might be a concern, but canned or packaged food should be safe.”

“Panic could lead to the destruction of much-needed food,” she added, “as occurred after the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents. Remember that all food contains naturally occurring isotopes, possibly in higher amounts than in ‘contaminated’ food.”

“In the event of a nuclear detonation that produces fallout, pills are not helpful. Shelter with mass such as concrete or earth between you and the fallout is essential,” Dr. Orient said, “until the fallout decays over several days.”

“Since government training programs were dismantled in the 1990s, American civil defense is self-help,” she said. “You can start with the 60-second training card, and the first 30 pages of Cresson Kearny’s Nuclear War Survival Skills.

Doctors for Disaster Preparedness was founded in 1983 to promote civil defense and all-hazards preparedness.


Jane M. Orient, M.D.,
(520) 323-3110,