From the Morning Memo:

The fate of a controversial Westchester County nuclear power plant has become a flashpoint in the battle between Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as the two Democrats jockey for position in advance of New York’s April 19 primary.

Sanders, who has so far not campaigning north of New York City, issued a statement calling Indian Point a “catastrophe waiting to happen,” noting the recent discovery of degraded and missing bolts, which the plant’s owner, Entergy, said would be replaced but did not pose a threat to public health and safety.

Sanders also cited a leak at Indian Point in February that sent contaminant into the area groundwater, causing radioactivity levels 65,000 percent higher than normal.

Again, Entergy insisted there was no health or safety consequence to the public. But the company’s claims were not sufficient to assuage the Vermont senator’s qualms about both the plant and nuclear energy, writ large, which he says the U.S. should transition away from in favor of renewable energy sources.

“In my view, we cannot sit idly by and hope that the unthinkable will never happen,” Sanders said. “We must take action to shut this plant down in a safe and responsible way. 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.”

“Even in a perfect world where energy companies didn’t make mistakes,” the senator continued. “Nuclear power is and always has been a dangerous idea because there is no good way to store nuclear waste.”

During an exclusive sit down with Capital Tonight yesterday, Clinton scoffed at Sanders’ Indian Point comments, portraying him as late to recognize the significance of this issue, but also naive about the difficulties surrounding an immediate shutdown.

“I’m glad he has discovered Indian Point,” Clinton said of her rival. “When I was a senator, I went after oversight I went after safety. And again, Governor Cuomo is calling for it to be closed. There’s a current Nuclear Regulatory Commission study being undertaken.”

“We also have to be realistic and say: You get 25 percent of the electricity in the greater New York City area from Indian Point,” Clinton continued. “I don’t want middle class tax payers to see a huge rate increase. So this needs to be done in a careful, thoughtful way.”

Clinton said she has a “vigorous record” around climate change and has proposed a “comprehensive” agenda to transition the U.S. to clean, renewable energy. She added she “couldn’t believe it” when Sanders opposed the Paris agreement, which she views as the “best chance we have” to address climate change on a global level.

Clinton and Sanders have also traded barbs on fracking, which Cuomo banned in New York in 2014 after a fight that last more than five years and galvanized environmentalists here – many of whom still remain active in various issues and political campaigns.

Clinton, unlike Sanders, has not called for an all-out ban on fracking. She has said there should be increased reporting requirements for companies regarding drilling chemicals, but she also supports the right of states like New York to make their own decisions when it comes to the controversial method of extracting natural gas from the earth.