BERLIN -- German authorities are increasing their stockpile of iodine tablets as a precaution for the possibility of a nuclear incident.
Germany's Federal Office for Radiation Protection confirmed Thursday it has ordered 189.5 million iodine tablets "to ensure a safe and widespread distribution in case of a radiological or nuclear emergency."
Public broadcaster WDR, which first reported the story, said the amount ordered is almost four times the current stockpile.
While Germany plans to phase out all of its nuclear plants by 2022, several neighboring countries including Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic continue to operate nuclear reactors.
Iodine tablets can help reduce instances of thyroid cancer if taken soon after a nuclear incident.