NEARLY 13,000 anti-radiation pills have been handed out in Barrow in case of the 'unlikely event' of a nuclear emergency.

Records reveal that childcare facilities and care homes situated near BAE Systems have received iodine tablets should submarine reactors go into meltdown.

Authorities and shipyard bosses emphasise that the possibility of radiation ever being released is unlikely.

12,020 anti-radiation pills have been sent to various childcare facilities, including: nurseries, schools, colleges and daycares located around the shipyard.

The medication was issued between 2016 and 2021, an investigation by Declassified UK found.

As well as this, 930 tablets have been distributed to care homes, including day centres and adult residential care, in the area surrounding BAE.

Iodine tablets help protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine exposure in the event of a nuclear accident.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) general secretary Kate Hudson told in investigative website: “The production, servicing and berthing of nuclear powered submarines in or near population centres presents an unacceptable health risk.

“Safeguarding our communities cannot be achieved through limited distribution of pills.”

According to Declassified UK, BAE expects people 400 metres downwind of a submarine would need to take iodine in the 'first few hours' of a 'radiation emergency'.

At no point in the more than 60-year history of nuclear submarine building in Barrow has there ever been a nuclear incident.

But significant thought has gone in to how the town would cope if there the worst were to happen at Barrow's shipyard.

While emergency planning documents are kept top secret on the grounds of national security - a Freedom of Information request for the documents sent to authorities by The Mail was rejected - residents are periodically kept up to date on what do in the event of a major incident.

Most homes in the area have at one point been sent a booklet detailing what they should do in an emergency, and some residents have been pre-furnished with iodine tablets, designed to counter the effects of radiation.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council told The Mail BAE Systems have a contract with UKHSA (previously Public Health England) and NHS England to distribute iodine tablets to business and residents in the area around the BAE Systems site in Barrow.

Stable Iodine tablets are prescription medicines so must be dispensed by a medical professional.

Cumbria County Council’s Resilience Unit support this process and contact the businesses and residents in the area before distribution starts but are not part of the contract arrangements.

A spokesman said those who have received anti-radiation tablets via post are classed as 'in the zone'.