At 07:23 Sunday morning, an Ontario emergency bulletin was sent to all cell phones concerning the Pickering Nuclear Power Station. Residents were warned that no abnormal radiation levels were detected and that further instructions and information will follow. Emergency staff were said to be responding to the situation.
These bulletins literally overpower your phone, which even in silent mode will emit a large sound. Apparently, though this emergency bulletin was part of a training exercise, and it was a mistake made during an exercise gone wrong that this emergency notification was sent across Ontario & the GTA.
The Ford Conservative governments reacted quickly and in a statement by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said the alert was “issued in error to the public during a routine training exercise being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre,” adding: “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 or environment.
“The Government of Ontario sincerely apologizes for raising public concern and has begun a full investigation to determine how this error happened and will take the appropriate steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
In 2015, residents and businesses inside that radius received free supplies of potassium iodide (KI) pills, which help prevent thyroid cancer in the event of a radioactive release.
Anyone living within 50 kilometres of either the Pickering plant or the nearby Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, which sits 30 kilometres further east, can also request a supply of pills using the website preparetobesafe.ca.
The website reads: “In the very unlikely event of a nuclear emergency and a release of radioactive iodine to the public, KI pills will help prevent the development of thyroid cancer, and are especially effective at safeguarding children’s thyroid glands. It is important for each household (within 10 km of a nuclear plant) to have a supply of these pills because they are most effective if taken just before or soon after exposure to radioactive iodine.