Nuclear power alert 'sent in error,' Canadian utility company says

Ontario residents woke up to an alert describing an "incident" at a plant.

A Canadian utility company has retracted an alert stating that a nuclear power incident occurred at a power plant east of Toronto.

The "emergency bulletin" was sent to residents in the province of Ontario on Sunday morning describing an "incident" that occurred at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station but stated there was no abnormal release of radioactivity.

The power company later clarified that the message was sent in error.

"There is no danger to the public or the environment," officials wrote on Twitter.

Ontario government Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement that there was "no incident" and that a public notification should not have been triggered.

"Nor was there ever any danger to the public or environment," Jones wrote.

Jones apologized to residents on behalf of the government of Ontario, adding that a full investigation to determine how the error happened had begun and promising to take "appropriate steps to ensure this doesn't happen again."

A similar event occurred in January 2018 in the U.S., after a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee mistakenly warned the public about a nonexistent incoming ballistic missile. The mistake prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to recommend changes to the emergency alert system in the U.S.

The Pickering power plant generates 14% of Ontario's electricity and has experienced incidents in the past, including a pump seal failure that caused more than 19,200 gallons of demineralized water into Lake Ontario in 2011 and a faulty valve that caused 132 tons of heavy water to spill and prompted the plant to automatically shut down in 1994, The Associated Press reported.