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OPG statement about Pickering Nuclear

TORONTO – This morning, an emergency alert was issued by the Province of Ontario in error stating there was an emergency at the Pickering Nuclear Station. The notification was issued during a routine training exercise that was being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC).

The Solicitor General of Ontario has confirmed there was no intention to notify the public in this instance, and that a full investigation to determine cause of the error will occur.

OPG is the largest electricity generator in the province, providing almost half the power Ontarians rely on every day. It is also one of the most diverse generators in North America with expertise in nuclear, hydro, biomass, solar and gas.

Frequently Asked Questions

On January 12th, an emergency alert was issued by the Province of Ontario in error stating there was an emergency at the Pickering Nuclear Station.

The Solicitor General of Ontario has confirmed there was no intention to notify the public in this instance, and that a full investigation to determine cause of the error will occur.

There was no incident at the station, and the plant is operating as designed.

Emergency Management Ontario is responsible for public safety during nuclear emergencies.

This agency administers the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan and has overall responsibility for managing the offsite response to nuclear emergencies. If a nuclear emergency were to take place, the provincial government would determine the appropriate level of public action.

Please contact the Solicitor General’s Office for further information.

The routine daily testing of the National Public Alerting system is part of the PEOC’s normal operations. At the start of each shift, a PEOC employee tests a mock scenario in a controlled test environment. Unfortunately, they issued the mock alert on the live environment. This was not a coordinated training exercise and OPG is not part of, nor contributes to, this routine testing.

OPG has a robust emergency management plan that includes a number of communications professionals who are on-call 24/7. Our staff received the erroneous alert at the same time as the public, which would not happen in the event of an actual emergency. Communications staff immediately mobilized, including at the station, and began coordinating with the appropriate authorities and levels of government and fielding media calls.

In the unlikely event of a nuclear accident, OPG would notify local and provincial governments within fifteen minutes, and provincial/regional officials would then notify the public of next-steps in any impacted areas through sirens, automated phone calls and widespread announcements via the National Public Alerting system, radio, TV, social media and the web.

Direction for the public to take actions, such as sheltering in place, evacuation or direction to take potassium iodide (KI) pills will be given by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, Durham Emergency Management Organization or the Medical Officer of Health.

In the unlikely event of a nuclear accident, go inside and turn on the TV or radio, listen to instructions and follow the direction of the authorities.

Plant and public safety is, and always has been, OPG’s number one priority.

Our stations operate inside the strictest of standards and regulatory requirements to ensure our communities are always safe.

The Pickering and Darlington stations employ many lines of defence to reduce the chance of an accident. This includes protective barriers around the fuel itself, the airtight reactor buildings, the vacuum building and the emergency mitigating equipment.

OPG is responsible for developing and maintaining Emergency Plans that would be used in the very unlikely event of a nuclear emergency. We ensure responses to any given number of emergency scenarios are tested on a regular basis.

OPG regularly performs drills and exercises that test the station response to a broad range of emergency scenarios. It also works with provincial, regional and municipal partners to regularly test offsite response.

OPG Responsibilities

In the unlikely event of a nuclear accident, OPG would notify local and provincial governments within fifteen minutes, and provincial/regional officials would then notify the public of next steps in any impacted areas through sirens, automated phone calls and widespread announcements via the National Public Alerting system, radio, TV, social media and the web.

Provincial Responsibilities

Emergency Management Ontario, is responsible for public safety during nuclear emergencies.

This agency administers the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan and has overall responsibility for managing the offsite response to nuclear emergencies. If a nuclear emergency were to take place, the provincial government would determine the appropriate level of public action.

Regional Responsibilities

Through the Durham Emergency Management Office, local municipalities have emergency plans in place to implement the provincial plan.

Importantly, it is their emergency responders, police, fire and ambulance crews who make sure the emergency plans are implemented properly.

The Public’s Responsibilities

Residents near nuclear facilities are responsible for being informed, and knowing what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency.

If an emergency occurs, the province alerts people through a combination of sirens, automated telephone messages and radio, television and social media alerts in the area.

Potassium iodide (KI) pills are a key component to keeping you and your family safe in the unlikely event of an accident.

All homes and businesses within 10 km of nuclear facilities are encouraged to have KI pills on hand. Anyone within 50 km of nuclear facilities is welcome to order KI pills for delivery. KI pills can be ordered through www.preparetobesafe.ca

In addition, OPG and our partners assembled an Emergency Awareness Kit containing an updated nuclear safety brochure, a pen light and an emergency checklist magnet. All are contained in a durable folio box, which has room to conveniently store your KI pills.

In 2017, these Emergency Awareness Kits were mailed out to all residents and businesses within a 10 km radius of both the Pickering and Darlington Nuclear Generating Stations. View the nuclear safety brochure contained in the kit.

For more information, contact either of our Pickering or Darlington Public Information Centres.

Pickering Information Centre

Phone: 905-837-7272
PickeringNuc@opg.com

Darlington Information Centre

Phone: 905-623-7122
DarlingtonNuclear@opg.com

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For further information, please contact:

Ontario Power Generation
416-592-4008 or 1-877-592-4008
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