How not to dispel fears about the safety of nuclear energy: give everybody pills supposed to prevent a specified nuclear-related disease if taken according to a 14-tablet, step-by-step prescription after an atomic power accident. Such pills are reportedly being handed out to 7,000 families within five miles of a TVA nuclear plant in Tennessee. The intent may be to safeguard and reassure people on the theory that they might not have time enough to get away in the event of calamity. But the risk is to sow public concern more than alleviate it. Mass-distributed safety pills are no substitute for convincing accident-prevention measures on the part of government and industry or for the individual thought, actions, and attitudes that can enhance protection against accidents of any kind.

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