NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The owner of the Indian Point nuclear power plant said the plant will continue to run even if its largest union goes on strike or is locked out.

The union, however, said that using substitutes to run two reactors in the New York suburbs would be “a wild gamble.”

The union’s contract was set to expire at Midnight Friday, and the two sides were meeting with mediators at a hotel to try to reach a deal.

John Melia, spokesman for Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America, said talks bogged down Thursday night after plant owner Entergy Nuclear made an “insulting and regressive” offer on wages and benefits.

Melia said the union’s 395 members, including control room workers, radiation safety workers and maintenance workers, hoped to avoid a strike.

Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said that in the event of a strike or lockout, “We are prepared to operate the plant in any event using non-union personnel.”

In the past, labor talks at Indian Point have commonly gone past the deadline before ending with an agreement. The last strike there was in 1983, when the two reactors were separately owned and workers at Indian Point 2 walked out on Con Edison for nine weeks. The plant remained open.

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