South Carolina has received 2.4 million potassium iodide tablets for distribution to state residents, including those in Aiken County, living within a 10-mile radius of nuclear power plants, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.


Health Departments in 13 counties across the state received the tablets distributed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


DHEC Director Catherine Templeton said in a press release that enough doses for 1.2 million adults were distributed.


“Potassium iodide provides additional protection for the thyroid gland against one form of radiation,” she said, noting the tablets are not “magic pills” against all types of radiation.


She added that the pills are not a “radiation shield” and that residents should follow any recommendations given by the state in the event of a radiological release.


Residents living inside the 10-mile radius zone of a nuclear plant can currently pick up the tablets. Participation is voluntary, according to DHEC.


Jim Beasley, spokesman for DHEC, said 3,200 doses were distributed to Aiken County. The tablets can be picked up at the Aiken County Health Department, located at 222 Beaufort St.


The expiration date for the new tablets is October 2017. Residents in possession of tablets with a May 2013 expiration date may dispose of those tablets once a new supply has been picked up.


The Aiken County Health Department can be reached at 803-642-1687.


For more information about potassium iodide and how to be protected against radiation, call the Aiken County Health Department or DHEC's Nuclear Response and Emergency Environmental Surveillance Section at 1-800-476-9677.


• Michael Ulmer covers the county government beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since March 2013. He is a native of North Augusta and majored in political science at the University of South Carolina.