Canadians throughout the Province of Ontario received an emergency push alert early Sunday morning about a nuclear "incident" in the city of Pickering, 30 minutes outside Toronto.
The alert said it applied to people within 10 kilometers of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, and while it said "NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station," people who got the notification were terrified – until at least some got a second notification more than an hour later that it had been a mistake.
The initial alert sent to cell phones at around 7:30 am advised that "emergency staff" were responding to the situation, but that people nearby did not need to take "proactive actions" at the time, and should be alert for more news about the incident.
However, officials confirmed by around 8:30 am that the alert had been sent in error. Some alert recipients got another notification after 9:00 am that said "There is NO active nuclear situation" and clarified the error, but reports online show not everybody received the second alert.
The City of Pickering's official Twitter account also confirmed that there was "no danger to the public" despite the alert, which is reminiscent of the significantly more terrifying accidental ballistic missile threat alert sent to Hawaiians almost exactly two years ago.
We have confirmed that there is no emergency or incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, and that there is no danger to the public. The emergency alert issued by the Province earlier this morning was sent out in error.— City of Pickering (@CityofPickering) January 12, 2020
Ontario Power Generation, which oversees the nuclear generating station, also confirmed the notification was an error and that no dangerous incident had occurred. Multiple officials spoke out about the accidental push alert, including the Mayor of Pickering on Twitter.
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.— Mayor Dave Ryan (@mayordaveryan) January 12, 2020
"Like many of you, I was very troubled to have received that emergency alert this morning," he wrote. "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."
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
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