“ULSTER County lawmakers have added their voices to those concerned about the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

Legislators voted 20-3 on Thursday to ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct an independent safety assessment of the Westchester County plant, which plans to apply for a 20-year renewal of its licenses at the end of March.

The power plant and NRC have said such an assessment is unnecessary because of current routine checks and the two-year intensive assessment required for relicensing.

U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, is among those supporting bills that would require the independent assessment.

Also Thursday, county lawmakers voted 17-6 in favor of broadening the relicensing criteria to include factors outside of the plant, like location, the size of the surrounding population and terror threats.

Legislator Michael Berardi, D-Ulster, questioned whether the move was a veiled attempt to close the plant down. But Legislator Susan Zimet, D-New Paltz, the original sponsor of the resolution, said Westchester County’s changing demographics must be considered before the plant is relicensed.

“Maybe Indian Point doesn’t belong there anymore, but this isn’t trying to shut down nuclear power plants all over the country,” Zimet said.

Legislators Glenn Noonan, R-Gardiner, Richard Gerentine, R-Marlboro, and Peter Liepmann, D-New Paltz, voted against requiring an independent assessment. Those three also voted against changing the criteria for relicensing, along with Berardi, Susan Cummings, R-Ellenville, and Legislature Chairman David Donaldson, D-Kingston.”

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