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Ontario Government Warns Residents of Nuclear Incident—Accidentally

The Canadian government sent out an incident alert for a nuclear plant near Toronto on Sunday, urging residents in the vicinity of the Pickering nuclear power plant to ask the local media for more information.

As it turns out, the alert had been sent in error.

The alert stated that an incident occurred at the Pickering plant, but that no release of radioactive material had been detected, CNN said.  The alert added that local residents did not need to take any protective action.

"There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station and emergency staff are responding to the situation. People near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time," the original alert read.

Soon enough it became clear there had been no incident at all. Ontario Power Generation first tweeted that the alert had been sent in error, and then issued an official statement.

“OPG has a sophisticated and robust notification process in place that we would immediately follow in the unlikely event of an incident at the station. I want to assure the public that there was no incident at the station, and the plant is operating as designed,” the utility’s Chief Nuclear Officer said in the statement.

The Ontario government admitted it had made a mistake in sending out the alert. The Solicitor General of the province, Sylvia Jones, said she had ordered a full investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, CBC released an overview of how Ontario would react in a real emergency situation involving a nuclear incident. The procedure involves PG informing all governments within 15 minutes of the incident and passing the buck to Emergency Management Ontario, which would apply the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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