Amber Alert sent for incident at Pickering nuclear power plant 'sent in error'

A mass alert telling millions of Ontario residents about a potential disaster at the Pickering Nuclear Station was a giant oops, say officials who took nearly an hour to recognize and admit the mistake.

An announcement on cellphones in the style of an Amber Alert went out about 7:19 a.m. from the Ontario government. It told of an unspecified “incident” at the plant that houses eight nuclear reactors on the edge of Lake Huron in Pickering, east of Toronto.

The advisory told people there had been no release of radioactivity, and that unidentified energy crews were at the plant.

It said people nearby were safe “at this time.”

Meanwhile there was no announcement from Ontario Power Generation, which owns the plant. Durham Regional Police told reporters they didn’t know of an incident.

The announcement told the public to monitor local news media. But media couldn’t get any information other than the first cellphone message.

Finally police and OPG admitted it was all a mistake, though no one is saying who made it.

“Important update: the alert regarding #Pickering Nuclear was sent in error. There is no danger to the public or environment,” OPG tweeted.

The mistake comes almost exactly two years after people in Hawaii heard a ballistic missile alert from the Emergency Alert System, causing widespread panic. That was also sent in error.

So far there is no word on what caused the Pickering error or why it took officials nearly an hour to correct it.

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