2020 Ontario nuclear incident alert
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On the morning of Sunday, January 12, 2020, a nuclear incident alert was issued via the Canadian national warning system. The 07:23 (EST UTC−5) alert stated that "[a]n incident was reported at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station", and that "[p]eople near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time". A second alert, sent out at 09:11 EST, stated that "[t]here is NO active nuclear situation taking place". Despite affecting only people within 10km of Pickering, the alert was sent out to all 14 million residents of Ontario. CP24 first reported that the alert was sent out in error, well before any statements from the government.
Mayor Dave Ryan of Pickering stated that he is "demanding that a full investigation take place". Mayor John Tory of Toronto, where numerous residents were affected by the alert, stated that he "join[s] Pickering [Mayor David Ryan] in calling for a full investigation into why this error occurred because there are far too many unanswered questions".
Among the public, over 200 thousand tweets about the incident were sent following the alerts. In addition, Ontario Power Generation reported that 32,388 orders for iodine pills were placed in the two days following the alert.
- Herhalt, Chris (2020-01-12). "Mass alert about Pickering Nuclear Generating Station sent in error: OPG" (in en). https://www.cp24.com/news/mass-alert-about-pickering-nuclear-generating-station-sent-in-error-opg-1.4763685.
- "Twitter". https://mobile.twitter.com/SylviaJonesMPP/status/1216396644771606528.
- Tory, John (2020-01-12). "I join Pickering @MayorDaveRyan in calling for a full investigation into why this error occurred because there are far too many unanswered questions." (in en). https://twitter.com/JohnTory/status/1216363584197988353?s=20.
- "Emergency alert on ‘incident’ at Ontario’s Pickering nuclear power station sent in error, officials say". https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-emergency-alert-reports-incident-at-ontarios-pickering-nuclear/.
- "Iodide pill sales skyrocket in Ontario after false alarm nuclear alert" (in en). https://www.blogto.com/city/2020/01/ontario-iodide-pill-sales-skyrocket-after-false-alarm-nuclear-alert/.