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Ontario retracts warning about incident at nuclear plant

Ontario officials on Jan. 12 recalled a message warning people about an incident at the 3,100-MW Pickering nuclear station east of Toronto.

"The alert regarding Pickering Nuclear was sent in error. There is no danger to the public or environment," said a message posted at the top of the website of plant operator Ontario Power Generation Inc., or OPG, which is owned by the provincial government.

Reuters reported the initial message was sent at 7:30 am ET by Ontario's Provincial Emergency Operations Centre. The Globe and Mail newspaper said the message was sent by text message to people living within 10 kilometers of the plant, which has six operating units, and said that an incident had occurred but that there had been no abnormal release of radioactive material. It said people did not have to take any protective actions.

Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones pledged a full investigation of the incident, which she said, according to The Globe and Mail, happened during a training exercise.

A follow-up message was sent at about 9:10 am ET saying there had been no incident.

The first four units at the Pickering plant were built in the early 1970s and two have since been retired. Four other units were built during the mid-1980s. OPG plans to shut down the plant in 2024 but is refurbishing four of eight units at its Darlington nuclear plant the first unit is expected to resume operation in the second quarter of this year to extend the operating life of those units to the 2050s.