U.S. nuclear bomb facility shut after security breach
by Mark Hosenball
August 2, 2012
The U.S. government's only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium has been temporarily shut after anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences, government officials said on Thursday.
WSI Oak Ridge, the contractor responsible for protecting the facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is owned by the international security firm G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security at the London Olympic Games.
Officials said the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three activists cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.
The activists painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, one of numerous buildings in the facility known by the code name Y-12 that it was given during World War Two, officials said.
While moving between the perimeter fences, the activists triggered sensors that alerted security personnel. But officials conceded the intruders were still able to reach the building's walls before security personnel got to them.
Ellen Barfield, a spokeswoman for the activists who called themselves "Transform Now Plowshares," said three were arrested and charged with vandalism and criminal trespass.
She said the three, identified as Megan Rice, 82, Michael Walli, 63 and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, were being held in custody and appeared for a hearing before a U.S. magistrate judge in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Thursday.
A detention hearing is set for Friday afternoon, when prosecutors must show the defendants are a flight risk and a danger to the community in order to keep them in custody, according to court officials. The trial date is October 9...
Security stand-down ordered at Y-12; all nuclear operations put on hold; enriched uranium placed in secure vaults
by Frank Munger
The Knoxville News Sentinel
August 1, 2012
In an apparently unprecedented action, the government's contractor today ordered a "security stand-down" at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. All nuclear operations are being put on hold and all nuclear materials will go into vaults while plant workers focus solely on security.
The order by B&W Y-12, and supported by the National Nuclear Security Adminstration, comes because of the security lapses that allowed peace protesters — including an 82-year-old nun — to penetrate the plant's highest security area early Saturday morning.
"The National Nuclear Security Administration fully supports this step which is necessary to ensure continued confidence in safe and secure operations at Y-12," the federal agency said in a press statement.
The statement said the stand down is effective today and is expected to end sometime next week...
The story of the action
Posted by tnplowshares
July 28, 2012
Michael R. Walli (63), Megan Rice shcj (82), Greg Boertje-Obed, (57), succeeded in a disarmament action at the Oak Ridge Y-12 Nuclear facility before dawn today.
Calling themselves Transform Now Plowshares they hammered on the cornerstone of the newly built Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility (HEUMF), splashed human blood and left four spray painted tags on the recent construction which read: Woe to the empire of blood; The fruit of justice is peace; Work for peace not for war; and Plowshares please Isaiah.
Under the cover of darkness they intermittently passed beyond four fences in a walk for over two hours through the fatal force zone. “We feel it was a miracle; we were led directly to where we wanted to go” said Greg...