US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says the decaying Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City is “a catastrophe waiting to happen” and should be closed due to safety and environmental concerns.
Sanders advocated Monday for shutting down the 40-year-old nuclear facility in Westchester County, which leaked water contaminated with radioactive tritium into the surrounding environment earlier this year.
“I am very concerned that the Indian Power nuclear power reactor is more than ever before a catastrophe waiting to happen,” the Vermont senator said in a statement.
“In my view, we cannot sit idly by and hope that the unthinkable will never happen. We must take action to shut this plant down in a safe and responsible way,” he added.
The senator said he hoped the issue would distinguish between himself and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton as they prepare for the April 19 New York primary.
“It makes no sense to me to continue to operate a decaying nuclear reactor within 25 miles of New York City where nearly 10 million people live,” Sanders noted.
Indian Point produces about 25 percent of electricity used in New York City and nearby Westchester County, according to Entergy Corp. which runs the plant.
Sanders has called for efforts to end US reliance on nuclear and fossil fuel power in favor of renewable energy sources.
After days of sparring over the date of their next debate, Sanders and Clinton finally agreed to challenge each other on stage on April 14 in Brooklyn, New York.