VIENNA - Japan has provided 230,000 units of stable iodine to evacuation centers as a precautionary measure in the country's nuclear emergency, the UN atomic watchdog said on Monday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing information it had received from Japanese authorities, said about 185,000 residents in areas near nuclear power plants affected by Friday's quake had been evacuated by March 13.
Iodine can be used to help protect against thyroid cancer in the case of radioactive exposure in a nuclear accident.
"Japan has distributed 230,000 units of stable iodine to evacuation centres from the area around Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants, according to officials," the IAEA said in a statement on its Facebook page.
"The iodine has not yet been administered to residents; the distribution is a precautionary measure in the event that this is determined to be necessary," it said.