Canadian nuclear alert sent by mistake, officials say

Canadian authorities have demanded an explanation after an inaccurate alert was sent to cell phones stating that personnel were responding to an incident at the Pickering nuclear generation station near Toronto on Sunday., the BBC reported.

The “emergency alert” was sent by the Ontario Provincial Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) and notified people within 10 kilometers (approximately 6.2 miles) of installation that “there has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity” and that “you DO NOT need to take any protective measures at this time”. Of course, receiving an emergency alert from a nuclear facility is disconcerting whether or not people in the area are at risk..

Screenshot: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)

Pickering plant is one of the largest in the world and has six Canadian deuterium uranium reactors which push a combined total of 3,100 megawatts. Is around 28 miles from Toronto And it is scheduled to exit service in 2024. The Associated Press reported It has several incidents in its history, including a spill in 2011 of 19,200 gallons of demineralized water on Lake Ontario and a spill in 1994 of 132 tons of heavy water, forcing the use of emergency core cooling systems.

According to the BBC, the message came out around 7:30 a.m. ET. Later another alert was sent informing the public that the first one had been a mistake, although not until almost two hours had passed. Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan told the BBC he was “demanding a full investigation,” while Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted what is important “We know how this error occurred and what steps will be taken to ensure that it does not happen again.”

According to the Globe and mailOntario Attorney General Sylvia Jones said the incident appeared to have been the result of a routine training exercise that went wrong. Nuclear director Sean Granville of Ontario Power Generation, the company that owns the Pickering plant, told the newspaper that “OPG has a sophisticated and robust notification process that we will follow immediately in the unlikely event of a station incident. I want to assure the public that there were no incidents at the station and that the plant is working as designed. “

the New York Times reported that the alert does not appear to have triggered near the same type of panic as an erroneous alert that a ballistic missile was about to attack Hawaii in January 2018. That message was sent during intense tensions between governments with US nuclear weapons. UU. and North Korea and advised the Hawaiians to take refuge immediately, causing massive panic and sending many revolts to cover. The Federal Communications Commission later released a report Blaming the false missile alert on a surprise drill that went wrong.

The Globe and Mail noted that in 2017, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk published a report indicating that the province’s emergency management system needed better supervision and coordination (plans to implement coordination The IT system was scrapped in 2014 after five years of work and $ 7.5 million spent on the project did not work.) According to the Times, the system has had problems sending text messages to all cell phones in regions experiencing emergencies, with older cell phone networks in rural areas. Cannot send alerts.

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