Aging protesters paint nuclear arsenal in Tennessee

Aging protesters paint nuclear arsenal in Tennessee

July 31st, 2012 by Associated Press in Local Regional News

In this photo reportedly taken in the days leading up to the early Saturday, July 28, 2012 break-in at Y-12, the activists posed with their banners and protest symbols. From left are Michael R. Walli, 63, Washington, D.C.; Megan Rice, 82, Nevada; and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, Duluth, Minnesota. A spokeswoman for the group said the Plowshares actions at high-security nuclear sites typically involve months, if not years, of planning. The three were arrested at about 4:30 a.m., and are now in federal custody. A Y-12 spokesman declined to discuss specifics of the event or provide a report of damages at the Oak Ridge facility.

OAK RIDGE - Emerging details about a security alert at the federal government's Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge reveal three aging activists staged the protest.

According to The Knoxville News Sentinel, guards found an 82-year-old Roman Catholic nun, a gardener and a housepainter splashing blood and painting messages on the $549 million storage bunker that holds the nation's primary supply of bomb-grade uranium.

The intrusion early Saturday resulted in armed security guards being scrambled to find Megean Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli hanging banners in the dark and reportedly singing and offering to break bread with them.

Details about how they got into the high-security area aren't known.

Y-12 spokesman Steven Wyatt said the protesters put themselves at high risk of losing their lives with the demonstration.