Skip to main content

Over the past 30 hours, culminating in a story by Reuters this evening, we’re learning the details concerning how, this past weekend, three anti-nuclear proliferation protestors--including an 82-year-old nun--breached three or more different layers of perimeter security fences, triggered multiple electronic sensors, and then walked for more than two hours across the, supposedly, highly-secured grounds of the Oak Ridge National Laboratories, near Knoxville, Tennessee, “to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.”

(Oak Ridge--more specifically, the Y-12 location within the Oak Ridge Reservation, see "UPDATE" info, in the first blockquote below--is the U.S. ”government's only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium.”)

The activists then hung a banner and/or painted slogans on the building, “and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility” (depending upon which report you read of the incident in the MSM).  At that point, long after the facility’s security had been compromised, “the protesters were found…singing on Saturday and offering to break bread with the security guards at the Oak Ridge complex, officials said. They were arrested.”

On Wednesday, in a delayed response to the incident, our government announced the temporary lockdown and/or shutdown (again, depending upon which news report one reads) of the entire facility, “at least until next week.”

UPDATE: [big h/t to Kossack Positronicus] Please see THIS LINK, to the comment(s) down below relating to the differences between the Oak Ridge National Laboratory ("ORNL") and "Y-12," the location of the incident, described in this post. Both are on the Oak Ridge National Reservation; but they're roughly 10-12 miles apart; both are ultimately owned by our government via the Department of Energy (DoE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (which is part of the DoE); but, actual day-to-day management is primarily outsourced to different entities. While the Manhattan Project work was done at ORNL, after WWII, ORNL became mostly a non-weapons related location/program, as well as a center for high-speed/advanced computing and energy-related programs, among many other scientific programs. Y-12, on the other hand, is all nuclear weaponry/and weapons stockpile management these days (and has been since shortly after WWII).

The incident that is reported upon in this diary occurred at Y-12, a week ago.

Again, the link to more information about the differences between the two locations is RIGHT HERE.

Exacerbating the severity of the entire incident, we are also now learning that security for the facility is outsourced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, DOE/NNSA, to none other than G4S, the same firm that made international headlines just a few weeks ago for profoundly screwing the proverbial pooch at the London Olympics.

The Reuters report, excerpted below, quotes former congressional investigator and Energy Department security consultant Peter Stockton, who stated, "It is unbelievable this could happen…The significance is outrageous. If they were terrorists, they could have blown open the door and got inside."

Stockton said the security breach was the "worst we've ever seen." He said it was more serious than the case of Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwan-born scientist who was suspected of espionage at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory. He pleaded guilty in 2000 to a less severe charge when the case against him collapsed.
Here’s an excerpt from the Reuters article…
U.S. nuclear bomb facility shut after security breach
By Mark Hosenball
Reuters
WASHINGTON | Thu Aug 2, 2012 6:50pm EDT

(Reuters) - 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...

…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…

…Ralph Hutchinson, coordinator for the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, said the group's intention was not to demonstrate the lack of security at the plant, but to take a stance against the making of nuclear weapons.

"It wasn't so they could show how easy it was to bust into this bomb plant, it was because the production of nuclear weapons violates everything that is moral and good," Hutchinson said. "It is a war crime…"

Here are links to a couple of other stories on the incident…

Nuke ops halted after protesters enter TN complex,” AP

Y-12 Nuclear Facility Goes on Lockdown After Security Breach,” Joe Newman, Communications Director, Project on Government Oversight (“POGO”)

Here’s A LINK to a related (quite pertinent, IMHO) post from Kossack ben Avram MacJean, published here this past Sunday.

Originally posted to http://www.dailykos.com/user/bobswern on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 01:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks and Nuclear Free DK.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

bink, Alma, filkertom, Timaeus, glitterscale, Maudlin, PeterHug, RunawayRose, recentdemocrat, RFK Lives, wenchacha, Creosote, opinionated, cskendrick, wonkydonkey, ask, mkfarkus, someRaven, semiot, jted, Miss Jones, pat bunny, RuralLiberal, renaissance grrrl, JayBat, ybruti, Mosquito Pilot, jcrit, xxdr zombiexx, bibble, oortdust, sawgrass727, rapala, Skennet Boch, la motocycliste, lcs, Simian, Tinfoil Hat, ichibon, rose quartz, subtropolis, OpherGopher, irate, Simplify, ChemBob, Brooke In Seattle, SaraBeth, where4art, Burned, Ice Blue, markdd, Sandino, LucyandByron, Tool, Ginny in CO, captainlaser, Ekaterin, Alan Arizona, Paper Cup, xaxnar, Jim P, martini, althea in il, WB Reeves, cybersaur, Clytemnestra, BlueInARedState, Yellow Canary, mooshter, zesty grapher, luckydog, blueoasis, triv33, gooderservice, real world chick, BlueMississippi, CA Nana, Persiflage, doingbusinessas, Tom Anderson, bstotts, Nulwee, ladypockt, tegrat, ammasdarling, One Pissed Off Liberal, pgm 01, RWood, SpecialKinFlag, ColoTim, Positronicus, Mary Mike, HeartlandLiberal, operculum, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, aliasalias, bnasley, artisan, SeaTurtle, millwood, uciguy30, Don midwest, rogerdaddy, TruthFreedomKindness, OleHippieChick, bill warnick, CDH in Brooklyn, Buckeye Nut Schell, lineatus, KJG52, mikeconwell, brasilaaron, mofembot, ClapClapSnap, Gemina13, luckylizard, Mayfly, DavidW, Fiddlegirl, maggiejean, divineorder, carolyn urban, Zotz, DefendOurConstitution, moonbatlulu, bfitzinAR, mahakali overdrive, joe from Lowell, Just Bob, p gorden lippy, politik, cordgrass, shenderson, pixxer, anonevent, DerAmi, Johnny Q, elengul, MsGrin, Oh Mary Oh, soaglow, Actbriniel, redlum jak, Hill Jill, slowbutsure, vahana, marleycat, CherryTheTart, enhydra lutris, peregrine kate, Hayate Yagami, Sunspots, Mentatmark, No one gets out alive, Only Needs a Beat, OldDragon, Jakkalbessie, tb92, Joieau, Trotskyrepublican, Horace Boothroyd III, MartyM, Kinak, TheLawnRanger, SheilaKinBrooklyn, SYWTSAR

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site