For-profit group denies sending Mattituck radiation alert

03/19/2014 2:08 PM |

Screen-shot-2014-03-19-at-11.18.29-AMA representative with a private radiation tracking group has denied ever sending out an alert about high radiation levels in Mattituck, after a controversial blog cited the organization as the source.

The notice caught wind Wednesday morning around the area, as The Suffolk Times received both calls and emails concerning radiation spikes on the North Fork.

“That problem was a equipment failure for New York,” Harlan Yother wrote in an email to The Suffolk Times about 1 p.m. “ does not put out reports or information like what you are quoting.”

Mr. Yother, the founder of the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center web site, also defended the group’s legitimacy, saying the for-profit group’s mission is to “inform the public that radiation is increasing and track the radiation if possible.”

In fact, representatives for several government organizations said they were unfamiliar with the NETC. Officials also confirmed earlier on Wednesday that they had seen no spikes in radiation levels.

“Never heard of it,” said Neil Sheehan, a representative with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “We’re not aware of any incidents at any of the nuclear power plants that could be a source of that [supposed radiation].” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also confirmed the report was false.”

Town officials had taken precautions to investigate the claims made by Turner Radio Network, which disseminated the supposed alert.

“I looked into this Turner Radio,” Supervisor Scott Russell told The Suffolk Times. “They seem like the National Enquirer of radio.” A team of Southold police officers outfitted with radiation gear was dispatched to the Mattituck area as a precaution, Mr. Russell said.

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