Team Obama 'nuclear security'
Lucky for Planet Earth, it was just 3 hippy refugees from the 1960s.
U.S. nuclear bomb facility shut after security breach
By Mark Hosenball Reuters WASHINGTON | Thu Aug 2, 2012 6:50pm EDT
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.
The activists passed through four fences and walked for "over two hours" before reaching the uranium storage building, on which they hung banners and strung crime-scene tape.
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."
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.
The activists cut through two chain-link fences surrounding the sprawling facility and a third fence surrounding the ultra-secure enriched uranium stockpile building, known as the "Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility."
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 said. "The significance is outrageous. If they were terrorists, they could have blown open the door and got inside." The security breach was the "worst we've ever seen."
(Additional reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago and Preston Peeden in Knoxville, Tennessee; Editing by David Storey and Peter Cooney)