Ontario residents are demanding answers after the Ontario Power Generation says an emergency alert issued Sunday morning was sent “in error.”
The emergency bulletin, which was sent shortly after 7:20 a.m., said there was an “incident” at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and that the alert applied to people within 10 kilometres of the plant.
A short time later, OPG announced that the alert was a false alarm. Since then, many people have taken to social media looking for answers on how the mistake happened.
Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s solicitor general, said a “full investigation” has been launched to determine how the error happened and that the alert was issued during a “routine training exercise” being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
“There was no incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station that should have triggered public notification. Nor was there ever any danger to the public and environment,” Jones said in a statement.
“Emergency exercises are a critical component of ensuring preparedness for emergency management and response agencies. The PEOC conducts training exercises regulary and there was no intention to notify the public in this instance.”
Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan said on Twitter that he was “very troubled” to receive the alert Sunday morning and that he’s demanding a full investigation take place.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he would join Ryan in calling for an investigation.
“There are far too many unanswered questions,” Tory said on Twitter.
Durham MP Erin O’Toole said there are “serious problems” with the emergency alert system and its protocols.
“There should be an immediate review of the system and I will push for that,” O’Toole said on Twitter.
Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O’Connell said the “lack of clarity & info to the public is unacceptable.”
“In the event of an actual emergency we deserve clear and timely information!” the MP said on Twitter.
Peter Tabuns, the Ontario NDP energy critic, echoed others’ sentiments.
“We are deeply troubled that families were unnecessarily given reason to worry about their safety this morning,” Tabuns said in a statement.
“We need a full and transparent investigation into how a false alarm was triggered, and how all breakdowns in communication occurred. Confidence in the accuracy of the system is essential for public safety.”
Meanwhile, other Ontario residents are also looking for answers, many of which woke up terrified Sunday morning.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Ontario Power Generation chief nuclear officer Sean Granville confirmed the alert was sent during a routine exercise and that the plant was “operating as designed.”
“There is no safety incident and there is no danger to the public,” OPG said in a statement.
“The emergency alert was triggered in error.”
— With files from Nick Westoll