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82-Year-Old Nun Shuts Down Top-Secret Nuclear Facility

82-Year-Old Nun Shuts Down Top-Secret Nuclear Facility

Three activists, including an 82-year-old nun, have succeeded in closing temporarily the US government’s only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium.

With the “Nuns on the Bus” tour for social justice in full swing, it seems that social activism is defining a lot of nuns in the US. Excellent!

The facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, also known as “The Atomic City,” was shut down on Wednesday after at least three protesters, including 82-year-old Megan Rice, cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.

This is awesome news; the facility is enormous, seemingly impenetrable, and dominates the town of Oak Ridge. That anyone even had the idea to try and break in is inspiring.

Ironically, WSI Oak Ridge, the private contractor responsible for protecting the facility, is a subsidiary of the world’s biggest security firm G4S, which came up short by 3,500 of the 10,400 security guards it had guaranteed to provide  at the Olympic Games in London.

Time for this security company to do some re-evaluating, maybe?

From rawstory:

The activists, who called themselves Transform Now Plowshares, painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, according to government officials.

Although the activists triggered security sensors they were still able to reach the building’s walls before WSI Oak Ridge staff intercepted them.

In a statement the three activists said they had passed through four fences and walked for “over two hours” before reaching the uranium storage building, on which they hung banners and crime-scene tape.

The activists’ spokeswoman, Ellen Barfield, said three were arrested and charged with vandalism and criminal trespass.

The three, identified as Megan Rice, 82, Michael Walli, 63, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, are being held in custody and appeared for a hearing on Thursday before a US magistrate judge in Knoxville, Tennessee.

A detention hearing was set for today, 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 9 October.

Not surprisingly, a spokeswoman for G4S declined to comment, but government officials said the contents of the facility were not compromised.

But somebody is going to get into big trouble for this security breach.

The security failure was an embarrassment both for the security firm and for the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, the Energy Department branch that operates U.S. nuclear weapons plants. “It was obviously a pretty serious incident,” NNSA spokesman Joshua McConaha told Reuters.

Peter Stockton, a former congressional investigator and security consultant to the Energy Department, expressed skepticism at government assertions the nuclear material was not at risk.

“It is unbelievable this could happen,” Stockton told Reuters. “The significance is outrageous. If they were terrorists, they could have blown open the door and got inside.”

I think we need to re-think our image of nuns!

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“Nuns on the Bus” Tour America For Social Justice

American Nuns Push Back Against Rome

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Photo Credit: bsabarnowl

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1:26AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

Yes, it's disgusting she should get time for that. She only did it to prove how insecure the place really was. Not that I condone anyone breaking federal trespassing laws, but this did show the weakness in a non-violent way.

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
-Albert Einstein

12:59AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

The deadly Oak Ridge nuclear plant should be dismantled. Rise up and protest en masse!
Desmond Tutu quote .... "Nuclear weapons are an obscenity. They are the very antithesis of humanity, of goodness in this world. What security do they help establish? What kind of world community are we actually seeking to build when nations possess and threaten to use arms that can wipe all of humankind off the globe in an instant?”

11:38AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Interesting story.

11:00AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

To help the Nuns why can't we find away to produce cleaner energy. That is why we us nuclear energy it's is a lot clearer than coal energy but not as clean as water or water dam energy. But I know away to get nuclear energy safe with putting anyone or anything in danger.

11:00AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

To help the Nuns why can't we find away to produce cleaner energy. That is why we us nuclear energy it's is a lot clearer than coal energy but not as clean as water or water dam energy. But I know away to get nuclear energy safe with putting anyone or anything in danger.

7:42AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Go on Sisters. There is a place for you in transforming this country.

6:47AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Well, God forbid we REGULATE anything! (according to GOP supporters)
This proves how vulnerable we are to attack, simply because some people believe government regulations are a bad thing. Ignorant!
Go Nuns on the Bus! It's time for everyone with a brain to speak out about this potential danger.

12:59AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012


12:39AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Good for the Nuns standing up for their beliefs. Also for senior citizens making a stand, hope the courts use wisdom and the security warning is heeded.

8:40PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Sorry, should be @Reece C.

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