Bernie Sanders calls for shutting down NY nuke plant

It’s almost like it’s the 60s all over again, political fans. Or at least the 70s. Bernie Sanders is getting ready for a big push in New York State as he continues to badger Hillary Clinton. Pretty much anything that keeps him to the left of the former First Lady is fair game and Bernie’s long memory clearly runs back to the days of the movie China Syndrome and the anti-nuclear protests which followed. What better way to combine these factors than to call for the closing of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, New York?

Highlighting his opposition to nuclear power ahead of the Empire State’s primary later this month, Bernie Sanders is calling for the shutdown of a nuclear power plant outside New York City that has leaked radioactive material into groundwater supplies.

The Indian Point plant has long been a source of controversy, thanks to numerous leaks and safety concerns. In February, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the latest leak at the plant “unacceptable.” But the plant produces about a quarter of the electricity used by New York City and neighboring Westchester County, making it difficult to replace.

“I am very concerned that the Indian Power nuclear power reactor is more than ever before a catastrophe waiting to happen,” Sanders said in a statement Monday. “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.

Bernie may impress a few hippies with that message, but he’ll probably be disappointed in the reaction he gets from New York. Indian Point has had its fair share of troubles to be sure. The reactor was brought online in 1962 and has already passed its original forty year license. (A twenty year extension after certain upgrades are completed is currently under consideration by the NRC, but there is also talk of decommissioning at least two of the reactors in the near future if replacement sources can be brought online.) They’ve also had some leaks, as you’ll tend to get in older plants, but nothing that’s gotten out of hand.

Still, for all its faults, Indian Point supplies nearly a quarter of the energy for New York City and the surrounding counties. Does Bernie have any idea how much energy the Big Apple consumes? And what does he propose we do to replace all that power? Install windmills?

Sanders is in a very small minority when he comes out against nuclear power. A majority of Americans still support nuke plants for our power needs and that includes a lot of so called green energy proponents who note the fact that it’s a carbon free method of keeping the lights on. Disposal of fuel rods remains an issue, but new technologies allowing us to convert much of the waste into new fuel have lessened that concern considerably if we can get them geared up in the United States.

Those subjects don’t even begin to address the jobs created in that portion of the energy sector and that’s especially true in the parts of New York where Bernie needs to score big if he hopes to take down Hillary Clinton. Sanders needs to be aware that The China Syndrome was a work of fiction and nuclear energy provides roughly 20% of the nation’s energy right now. Unless he’s got some magic beans in his pocket which can replace all that juice in the short term, he’s in danger of losing voters by virtue of simply being out of touch with reality.