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Canadian nuclear power plant sends emergency alert in error

  • 10 days ago (2020-01-14)
  • David Flin
North America 817 Nuclear 459

Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario, Canada sent out an emergency alert about an “incident” at around 07:30 local time on 12 January to people living within six miles of the facility. A second message was sent out approximately two hours later saying that the first message had been sent out in error.

Pickering has six reactors with a combined capacity of 3100MW.

Sean Granville, Chief Nuclear Officer at Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the plant owner and operator, said: “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.”

OPG said that the notification was issued during a routine training exercise being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC). The first message was sent province-wide and alerted people within 10km of the facility. The alert said: “An incident was reported at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station and emergency staff are responding to the situation. People living near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take protective actions at this time.”

OPG later said that the message had been sent in error, and that there was “no danger to the public or environment.” A second alert said there was “NO active nuclear situation.”

Dave Ryan, Mayor of Pickering, said that he was demanding a full investigation into what happened at the plant.