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

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

by Judy Molland

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!