2020 Ontario nuclear incident alert

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2020 Ontario nuclear incident alert
File:Emergency Alert 2020-01-12 Pickering.jpg
DateJanuary 12, 2020 (2020-01-12)
TypeFalse alarm

On the morning of Sunday, January 12, 2020, a nuclear incident alert was issued via the Canadian national warning system. The 07:23 (EST UTC−5) alert stated that "[a]n incident was reported at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station", and that "[p]eople near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time". A second alert, sent out at 09:11 EST, stated that "[t]here is NO active nuclear situation taking place". Despite affecting only people within 10km of Pickering, the alert was sent out to all 14 million residents of Ontario. CP24 first reported that the alert was sent out in error[1], well before any statements from the government.

In a statement by MPP Sylvia Jones, The cause of the alert was revealed to be an error during a "routine training exercise being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC)"[2].


Mayor Dave Ryan of Pickering stated that he is "demanding that a full investigation take place". Mayor John Tory of Toronto, where numerous residents were affected by the alert, stated that he "join[s] Pickering [Mayor David Ryan] in calling for a full investigation into why this error occurred because there are far too many unanswered questions".[3]

Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford, said that "There is no safety incident and there is no danger to the public. The emergency alert was triggered in error".[4]

Among the public, over 200 thousand tweets about the incident were sent following the alerts. In addition, Ontario Power Generation reported that 32,388 orders for iodine pills were placed in the two days following the alert.[5]


  1. Herhalt, Chris (2020-01-12). "Mass alert about Pickering Nuclear Generating Station sent in error: OPG". CP24. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  2. "Twitter". mobile.twitter.com. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  3. Tory, John (2020-01-12). "I join Pickering @MayorDaveRyan in calling for a full investigation into why this error occurred because there are far too many unanswered questions". @JohnTory. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  4. "Emergency alert on 'incident' at Ontario's Pickering nuclear power station sent in error, officials say". Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  5. "Iodide pill sales skyrocket in Ontario after false alarm nuclear alert". www.blogto.com. Retrieved 2020-01-15.

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