Emergency and health officials will distribute free potassium iodide tablets to residents within 10 miles of two New Jersey nuclear generating stations.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Division of Public Health said Friday that the KI tablets will be distributed Thursday at the Townsend fire station.

The tablets are for those who live within the Emergency Planning Zone of the Salem/Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations in Salem County, N.J.

In a radiation emergency, officials will send emergency alerts by local radios stations, and residents will be told when to take the KI tablets.

State officials say potassium iodide does not protect against external radiation, but can help protect the thyroid gland from ingested or inhaled radioactive iodine that might be released in a radiation emergency.