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Sanders Calls Indian Point Nuclear Plant Disaster Waiting To Happen

BUCHANAN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) was campaigning in Wisconsin Monday, but he still had New York on his mind.

As WCBS 880's John Metaxas reported, Sanders put out a statement that he is worried about the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County after a recent federal inspection.

Sanders called Indian Point a catastrophe waiting to happen. He said he hopes the issue drives a wedge between himself and Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton ahead of the New York primary on April 19.

But in Buchanan near Indian Point, the issue was less a political matter than one of quality of life.

"Whatever is right should be right, and all of the politics should be set aside," one resident said. "I think it should be closed. They've got a thousand excuses every time there is something wrong with it. They're saying, 'Oh yeah, there's no harm from the public whatsoever.''

But another man said Indian Point keeps taxes low, provides jobs and produces needed power.

Last week, Entergy Corp., which runs the facility in Westchester County, said that more than 2,000 bolts had been inspected when the Indian Point 2 reactor was shut down. Company officials said more than 200 of the bolts needed further analysis and that some of the bolts on the reactor's inner liner were missing.

The reactor with the faulty bolts has been shut down for several weeks and will remain shut down following the discovery of the faulty bolts.

In the wake of that news, Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week said the plant's license should not be renewed.

"While there is no immediate danger to public health and safety, this troubling news further validates the State's ongoing investigation into the operations of this aging power plant and our position that it should not be relicensed," Cuomo said in a statement. "New York State will continue to investigate every facet of the plant's operations and safety preparedness while ensuring that these critical defects are addressed immediately."

In February, Cuomo called for an investigation after an apparent overflow at the plant spilled highly radioactive water into an underground monitoring well. Nuclear regulators said the public wasn't at risk.

In December, a reactor shut down at the plant following an electrical disturbance on outdoor high voltage transmission lines.

In a report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last month, the company said that automatic reactor shutdown on Dec. 14 was apparently from bird feces that caused an electric arc between wires on a feeder line at a transmission tower.

That outage in turn came just days after control rods lost power at the Indian Point 2 reactor, forcing it to shut down for three days. Following that incident, opponents of the plant said Indian Point should close for good, pointing to a handful of other mishaps last year, including a transformer fire and water pump problem.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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