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Canadians living near nuclear power station sent emergency incident message by mistake

More than an hour later, a message was sent saying the first one was a mistake.

The emergency alert sent out this morning.
The emergency alert sent out this morning.
Image: AP

PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE Canadian province of Ontario awoke this morning to an alarming alert of an “incident” at a nuclear plant just east of Toronto — only to later be told the message was a mistake.

The initial early morning emergency message popped up on the screens of mobile phones throughout the nation’s most populous province, saying an unspecified incident had occurred at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

It added there had been no abnormal release of radioactivity and said people didn’t need to take protective action.

More than an hour later, Ontario Power Generation later sent a message saying the alert “was sent in error. There is no danger to the public or environment. No further action is required.” The notification message also was pushed onto to television screens.

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan said he’s demanding a full investigation into the error.

“Like many of you, I was very troubled to have received that emergency alert this morning. While I am relieved that there was no actual emergency, I am upset that an error such as this occurred. I have spoken to the Province, and am demanding that a full investigation take place,” Ryan said by Twitter.

Toronto Mayor John Tory joined him, tweeting that “there are far too many unanswered questions” and noting it went out across the province of 14 million people.

canada-nuclear-plant The message sent out informing people the first was a mistake. Source: AP

“Last night may have been the wrong night to start watching Chernobyl,” tweeted CBC journalist David Common.

The US Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general recommended changes to emergency alert system in the United States after Hawaii officials in 2018 mistakenly warned the public about a nonexistent incoming ballistic missile.

A Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee sent the missile alert to mbile phones and broadcasters, triggering panic until the agency sent another message 38 minutes later notifying people it was a false alarm.

The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, opened in 1971, and had been scheduled to be decommissioned this year, but the province’s government committed to keeping it open until 2024. Decommissioning is now set to start in 2028.

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