“WASHINGTON, Jan 31 – The Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y., just 45 miles north of New York City, should be closed as soon as possible, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said on Monday.

“It makes no sense to have a nuclear facility there. I think we should close it when and as soon as we have alternate energy sources to substitute for the power that is currently being generated,” said Spitzer, who is running for governor.

He was asked about the nuclear power plant, located in the Hudson River Valley, during a question-and-answer session after he spoke to the National Press Club on financial issues.

“We absolutely should do what we can to close it because it is a security risk,” he said of the plant operated by New Orleans-based energy group Entergy Corp. (ETR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) .

A spokesman for Entergy’s nuclear unit said Indian Point is a “terrifically safe
place,” and invited Spitzer to visit.

“If (Spitzer) were to come and actually see how well protected it was I think he’d be less inclined to think (the plant) should be replaced,” the spokesman said.

Some local activists are trying to have the plant shut, citing risks of terrorists flying a commercial jet into the plant’s reactor — causing widespread radiation contamination.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that such a release is highly unlikely barring multiple failures.

Spitzer, 45, has won national attention for investigating wrongdoing on Wall Street and elsewhere. He announced in December he is running for governor of New York in 2006.”

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