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three anti-nuclear activists charged after breaking in to top us nuclear weapons facility

Three anti-nuclear activists have been charged by US authorities after breaking into top US nuclear storage facility.

The three broke into Oak Ridge nuclear reservation in Tennessee in the early hours of Saturday 28th July. They managed to carry out what US authorities call the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex. Signs outside the nuclear facility state “Deadly force is authorised” and “Halt!” Using only torches and bolt cutters, the trio overcame barbed wire, slipped past armed guards, video cameras and motion sensors. After gaining entry to the inner compound they splashed blood on the highly enriched uranium materials facility (a new windowless, half-billion-dollar plant encircled by enormous guard towers) and hung banners on the outside of it. They were arrested around 4:30am.

On Thursday (9th of August) they were charged with a misdemeanour and two felonies. Sister Megan Rice, 82, Michael R. Walli, 63 and Gregory I. Boertje-Obed, 57 have been charged by federal prosecutors in Knoxville. The misdemeanour charge for trespassing on government property carries a small penalty if found guilty. However the two felonies for destruction and depredation are considered as serious crimes and carry greater penalties. The charges can result to 16 years in prison and fines of up to $600,000 (£382,482). All three have pleaded not guilty.  William C. Killian, a United States attorney, told reporters outside the Knoxville courtroom “This is a matter of national security”.

The station is used to stockpile nuclear bomb parts and fuel. It is the proud keeper of the US’s main store of highly enriched uranium- enough uranium to make thousands of nuclear weapons. The three unlikely masterminds who managed to break into a high-security area at the Y-12 National Security Complex have made nuclear theft seem not much harder than tying your shoelaces together.

The activists wanted to draw attention to the plant’s nuclear work. Megan Rice, one of the defendants, said: “It’s the criminality of this 70-year industry,” she said. “We spend more on nuclear arms than on the departments of education, health, transportation, disaster relief and a number of other government agencies that I can’t remember.” After the action, they released an “indictment" accusing the United States of crimes against humanity.

A trial is set for the 10th of October in Federal District Court in Knoxville. In the event the three defendants are found guilty they may be allowed to serve the sentences for the three charges concurrently; this would drop their prison time from 16 years to 5. In the case of Megan Rice and her 82 years on this planet it is highly likely that a 16 year sentence would mean she would die in prison.

There are 4 comments on this story...
Added By: Anonymous - 14th August 2012 @ 10:34 AM
They should be thanked for pointing out the weaknesses if the security, not prosecuted
Added By: Anonymous - 16th August 2012 @ 4:59 AM
A brave act, obviously not reported in the mainstream media, perhaps they should of dressed as Muslims then they would of got on the news, like our good friends in Australia who breaching security at he APEC 2007. Very lucky they weren't shot, the 'shoot first ask question later' trend in the USA was not acted on for once. Probably because they've realised they don't get many answers that way, and they need all the help at understanding life that they can get. I digress...
Added By: anarchiste - 23rd August 2012 @ 7:43 PM
the future is green.
Added By: Julio - 27th November 2012 @ 8:36 AM
There are a number of nuelcar plants along the Tennessee river, especially in the Eastern Tennessee valley. One is ten minutes or so from my family home we could see it from my high school. Watts Bar is about 30-40 minutes north of there (and 30-40 minutes south of Oak Ridge, home of the atom bomb!). There's so much nuelcar gunk in the river that pregnant women are warned against eating any bottom-feeding fish. Basically, TVA and Oak Ridge turned the Tennessee Valley into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Armageddon!
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