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  Anti-cancer pills given to kids near nuclear sub
Updated 09 October 2003, 11.24

HMS Torbay has arrived in Portsmouth - there are fears of a nuclear leak
HMS Torbay
Thousands of anti-cancer pills have been given out to schools in Hampshire after a nuclear submarine has docked nearby.

But the drugs are just a precaution in case the submarine, HMS Torbay, starts to leak radiation.

First time

The potassium ioate pills prevent cancer of the thyroid - which is a large gland in the neck. The pills have been given to 31 schools within two kilometres of Portsmouth dock.

This is the first time that a precaution like this has been taken.

'Very unlikely'

Emergency planning officer for the council, Martyn Powell, said: "These pills would only be handed out in the very unlikely event of a leak.

"If there was a leak, alarms would sound and the schools and distribution centres would be alerted by phone."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman also said that a leak is very unlikely.

"There has never been an accident involving a Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine which has led to the leaking of nuclear material into the atmosphere."

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