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(Mother Jones)   How secure is our weapons-grade uranium complex in Knoxville, Tennessee? So secure that it was broken into by 83-year-old antiwar activist and nun Sister Megan Rice   ( motherjones.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Knoxville, nuclear arms race, anti-war activists, states with nuclear weapons, National Nuclear Security Administration, uranium, Y-12 National Security Complex, Michael Walli  
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4011 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Jan 2014 at 2:32 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



69 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-01-15 11:16:45 AM  
i may be an atheist, but i do love catholic nuns. the one's I've encountered tend to be the most true to the christian ideal of peace and love, whether it's being anti-war or anti-death penalty or helping out the poor and less fortunate. it's no wonder groups like the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is constantly under fire from the male catholic hierarchy.
 
2014-01-15 11:49:13 AM  
You obviously do not appreciate the stealthiness of the nunja
 
2014-01-15 12:04:24 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: You obviously do not appreciate the stealthiness of the nunja


heh. well played!
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-01-15 12:17:03 PM  

FlashHarry: i may be an atheist, but i do love catholic nuns. the one's I've encountered tend to be the most true to the christian ideal of peace and love, whether it's being anti-war or anti-death penalty or helping out the poor and less fortunate. it's no wonder groups like the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is constantly under fire from the male catholic hierarchy.


There are conservative nuns too, but many of them are pretty cool.
 
2014-01-15 12:36:42 PM  

FlashHarry: i may be an atheist, but i do love catholic nuns. the one's I've encountered tend to be the most true to the christian ideal of peace and love, whether it's being anti-war or anti-death penalty or helping out the poor and less fortunate. it's no wonder groups like the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is constantly under fire from the male catholic hierarchy.


According to my wife, who went to Catholic school, nuns were good for one thing and one thing only: crushing the spirits of school aged children.
 
2014-01-15 01:12:23 PM  
Yeah, but the joke is on her:  Uranium is a very heavy metal.  No way an 85 year old nun can carry enough to be a problem.
 
2014-01-15 02:01:12 PM  
How secure is our weapons-grade uranium complex in Knoxville, Tennessee?

Nun of your business.
 
2014-01-15 02:12:32 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: You obviously do not appreciate the stealthiness of the nunja


I came in here thinking I had something clever to contribute but I now recognize the feebleness of my offering.
 
2014-01-15 02:34:18 PM  

unlikely: MaudlinMutantMollusk: You obviously do not appreciate the stealthiness of the nunja

I came in here thinking I had something clever to contribute but I now recognize the feebleness of my offering.


You need to get into the habit of getting here first.
 
2014-01-15 02:34:53 PM  
...crackdowns on activists who've dared to engage in vital acts of civil disobedience.

Your blog sucks.
 
2014-01-15 02:35:34 PM  
In the dark morning hours of July 28, 2012

Way to stay on top of things, mother jones
 
2014-01-15 02:36:08 PM  
Is this old news or is she at it again? good for her btw...
 
2014-01-15 02:37:20 PM  
So they stole a bunch of uranium and built a dirty bomb?  Oh they were caught immediately.
 
2014-01-15 02:37:36 PM  
Instead of all the money on fences and monitor systems, they should simply tell the local police that the nun is a tall, african american homeless man with mental health problems.  She'll be gunned down and beaten to death inside of an hour, and for millions less.
 
2014-01-15 02:39:28 PM  
Security.

Hmm.

Lemme break this down for you.

Most of the people swinging their 4X4, bulletproof, kevlar'd, "looka here, you!" authority postures are at least as stupid as the poddling, ass scratching dolts you went to school with.  And a lot of them are stupider than that.  Sleep tight, America.
 
2014-01-15 02:42:41 PM  

abhorrent1: In the dark morning hours of July 28, 2012

Way to stay on top of things, mother jones


I was about to say, isn't this a repeat from a couple of years back?

/old news, SO EXCITING.jpg
 
2014-01-15 02:42:41 PM  
Same rag that won a Pulitzer for distorting the Ford Pinto issue.
 
2014-01-15 02:45:21 PM  
Nun Faces up to 30 Years for Breaking Into Weapons Complex, Embarrassing the Feds


For once an accurate headline.
 
2014-01-15 02:47:39 PM  

dittybopper: Yeah, but the joke is on her:  Uranium is a very heavy metal.  No way an 85 year old nun can carry enough to be a problem.


That's not really the point. If the old penguin can get in, so can Johnny Terrorist.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-01-15 02:47:46 PM  

lewismarktwo: So they stole a bunch of uranium and built a dirty bomb?  Oh they were caught immediately.


No.  That's what I expected it to be, but the wandered around inside a secure area for some time before they were noticed.

They never got to the uranium (?) but still pretty embarrassing.
 
2014-01-15 02:47:58 PM  

graeylin: Instead of all the money on fences and monitor systems, they should simply tell the local police that the nun is a tall, african american homeless man with mental health problems.  She'll be gunned down and beaten to death inside of an hour, and for millions less.


Came here to say something similar, except for they need to hire some Fullerton policemen for security there. Every unauthorized person within a mile of that facility will be curb stomped to death!
 
2014-01-15 02:48:46 PM  

MJMaloney187: dittybopper: Yeah, but the joke is on her:  Uranium is a very heavy metal.  No way an 85 year old nun can carry enough to be a problem.

That's not really the point. If the old penguin can get in, so can Johnny Terrorist.


Really?  You read his comment and thought it was serious?  You need a cup of coffee?
 
2014-01-15 02:50:06 PM  
FTFA: Daniel and Philip Berrigan and six others trespassed onto the General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and hammeredon the nose cones of missiles

Well that's just weapons-grade stupid.  Or balsy.  One of those.
 
2014-01-15 02:50:35 PM  
They've been doing this since Reagan and before.  Frankly, it's boring and a waste of time and effort for all concerned.
 
2014-01-15 02:51:11 PM  
An 83-year-old nun is probably a pretty high-level cleric, and even a fairly low-level one could cast Silence 15' Radius, Augury, Find Traps, and several other spells that would make a burglary campaign a lot easier. Maybe she took a level or two in Thief back in her wilder days. Ever since Vatican II the church is a lot more tolerant of multi-classing.
 
2014-01-15 02:51:23 PM  
I have a family in my line who were hugely religious. 2 nuns. 1 priest. I didn't meet my cousins the nuns very often  although my cousin the priest would be at family gatherings. At my father's funeral I ran into one of the nuns and she was everything BAD that one associates with "virginal". Cold and removed.  Unmovable, actually. A few years later, and something had changed.. She was, for lack of a better word, transparent. It was as if she had the healing touch. She grabbed my forearm and looked me in the eye and ...

I don't believe in God and find 99.999% of the people who are in the profession of religion -- nuns, priests, ministers, rabbis, gurus, etc -- to be emotional cripples and parasites. But something happened to my cousin.

Don't mess with the nuns.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-01-15 02:51:29 PM  
WTF do we have a weapons grade uranium stockpile?  Who makes bombs out of uranium these days?
 
2014-01-15 02:51:30 PM  
Nuns are cool. This one might be the coolest ever.
 
2014-01-15 02:53:09 PM  
i.dailymail.co.ukView Full Size

Check his fingers!
 
2014-01-15 02:53:37 PM  
With all that radiation she is now known as puffed Rice.
 
2014-01-15 02:53:41 PM  

GDubDub: FTFA: Daniel and Philip Berrigan and six others trespassed onto the General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and hammeredon the nose cones of missiles

Well that's just weapons-grade stupid.  Or balsy.  One of those.


It's okay.  Those blockbuster bombs don't go off unless you hit them *just* right.

mythblogogy.files.wordpress.comView Full Size
 
2014-01-15 02:54:26 PM  
Not really a story, they didn't make it into any of the buildings containing the enriched uranium, and the security wasn't set up to stop activists, it was set up to stop enough people with the equipment to move enough enriched uranium to become a problem.  Considering all that they were still caught within an hour of being on the grounds.

This kind of thing happens all the time, the outer fences they put up on places like that are just to keep people from wandering in, and so that they can shoot anybody past that point.

There was a similar story a few years ago about some activists that broke into a nuclear power plant and took a bunch of pictures in the control room... except that it wasn't actually the control room it was the control room simulator, which had no security because why would it.
 
2014-01-15 02:55:20 PM  

FlashHarry: i may be an atheist, but i do love catholic nuns. the one's I've encountered tend to be the most true to the christian ideal of peace and love, whether it's being anti-war or anti-death penalty or helping out the poor and less fortunate. it's no wonder groups like the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is constantly under fire from the male catholic hierarchy.


Meh, I went to Catholic school and the ones I met were the evilest biatches on the planet. My hatred of religion begins early, is because of the church "leaders" and their ass hattery.
 
2014-01-15 02:55:28 PM  
i1.ytimg.comView Full Size

sounds like an episode of this
 
2014-01-15 02:57:49 PM  
How many agents can penetrate our security?  Nun.
 
2014-01-15 02:58:00 PM  
farm9.staticflickr.comView Full Size
 
2014-01-15 03:00:13 PM  

bunner: Security.

Hmm.

Lemme break this down for you.

Most of the people swinging their 4X4, bulletproof, kevlar'd, "looka here, you!" authority postures are at least as stupid as the poddling, ass scratching dolts you went to school with.  And a lot of them are stupider than that.  Sleep tight, America.


except Y-12 employs mostly Ex-military and ex- law enforcement.... not your standard street person put into a uniform and given a cell phone...

I think this more than anything highlights leadership and policy failures
 
2014-01-15 03:00:36 PM  

Kentucky Fried Children: abhorrent1: In the dark morning hours of July 28, 2012

Way to stay on top of things, mother jones

I was about to say, isn't this a repeat from a couple of years back?

/old news, SO EXCITING.jpg


Apparently this FTA: ... awaiting a January 28 sentencing hearing... is reason enough for them to bring it up again, and then they get to do it again three weeks.

This is Y-12, cleverly disguised on Google Maps as "New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery"
 
2014-01-15 03:01:31 PM  
The Nuclear Nun (2014) Woof!

When anti-nuclear activist, Sister Meghan, breaks into a nuclear weapons complex in Knoxville, Tennessee, she acquires weapons grade uranium and gains amazing super powers. Not only does she become the Flying Nun, but she can see through anything and anybody. She knows what you are doing in there! You are making the Baby Jesus Cry. Now she's taking names and kicking ass and she forget her notebook.

No sex, looney cartoony violence. Rated G.
 
2014-01-15 03:02:03 PM  
A death sentence, you don't say?
 
2014-01-15 03:02:48 PM  
FTFA: "dared to engage in vital acts of civil disobedience "

And that's where the article lost me and I realized the article was picking sides. Civil disobedience doesn't involve breaking into extremely dangerous places where nuclear weapons research and fuel are stored. If they want to stand at the main gate with signs or block the entrances, fine. But what they did was beyond stupid.
 
2014-01-15 03:03:50 PM  

unlikely: MaudlinMutantMollusk: You obviously do not appreciate the stealthiness of the nunja

I came in here thinking I had something clever to contribute but I now recognize the feebleness of my offering.


If only more people could get into that habit, stop frocking around when nun of what you want to say is topical.
 
2014-01-15 03:03:56 PM  
If they stored the material outside the walls, this would be a grave security breach.

As it is, enjoy prison time
 
2014-01-15 03:04:37 PM  
Nuns? Ok, I'll start...
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.comView Full Size
 
encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.comView Full Size
 
2014-01-15 03:04:53 PM  

MadMattressMack: FTFA: "dared to engage in vital acts of civil disobedience "

And that's where the article lost me and I realized the article was picking sides. Civil disobedience doesn't involve breaking into extremely dangerous places where nuclear weapons research and fuel are stored. If they want to stand at the main gate with signs or block the entrances, fine. But what they did was beyond stupid.


Well, I'm sure there are people picketing various causes all over the place. How many are you aware of?
 
2014-01-15 03:06:55 PM  

yakmans_dad: MadMattressMack: FTFA: "dared to engage in vital acts of civil disobedience "

And that's where the article lost me and I realized the article was picking sides. Civil disobedience doesn't involve breaking into extremely dangerous places where nuclear weapons research and fuel are stored. If they want to stand at the main gate with signs or block the entrances, fine. But what they did was beyond stupid.

Well, I'm sure there are people picketing various causes all over the place. How many are you aware of?


Well, the only one I see regularly is at the planned parenthood up the street. Maybe they should break in and spray paint slogans on the women there to get more media coverage.
 
2014-01-15 03:07:22 PM  

vpb: WTF do we have a weapons grade uranium stockpile?  Who makes bombs out of uranium these days?


Uranium is used in the secondary of thermonuclear weapons.
 
2014-01-15 03:09:42 PM  

MadMattressMack: Well, the only one I see regularly is at the planned parenthood up the street. Maybe they should break in and spray paint slogans on the women there to get more media coverage.


Comparing the security of a nuclear storage facility to planned Parenthood is apples and airplanes.
 
2014-01-15 03:10:14 PM  
I do believe our derptonium is secure, however.
 
2014-01-15 03:12:33 PM  
Nice to know.
 
2014-01-15 03:12:41 PM  

generallyso: MadMattressMack: Well, the only one I see regularly is at the planned parenthood up the street. Maybe they should break in and spray paint slogans on the women there to get more media coverage.

Comparing the security of a nuclear storage facility to planned Parenthood is apples and airplanes.


You can't hug an aborted baby with nuclear arms.
 
2014-01-15 03:14:23 PM  
Send in the Nuns!!!
i1.ytimg.comView Full Size
 
2014-01-15 03:18:24 PM  

MadMattressMack: FTFA: "dared to engage in vital acts of civil disobedience "

And that's where the article lost me and I realized the article was picking sides. Civil disobedience doesn't involve breaking into extremely dangerous places where nuclear weapons research and fuel are stored. If they want to stand at the main gate with signs or block the entrances, fine. But what they did was beyond stupid.


Sorry, but this is neither nuclear research nor fuel. The correct term is "fissile material".
 
2014-01-15 03:24:23 PM  
I just got a phone call from Tennessee and I don't know anybody from there.  Great, now I'll be on the NSA and all the other alphabet soup gangs' terror lists.  I'll be lucky to buy toilet paper again without getting arrested.

/farking nunsense
 
2014-01-15 03:26:22 PM  
A fence, wow, big deal. It'd be impressive if they actually got to some uranium. Maybe a nun with superpowers would happen as a result, which may be a good thing.
Anyway, people can do the same thing at airports, power stations, military bases and so on. Someone out in CA cut some cables and shot up some transformers at a substation. Any nut could do the same thing. Take out power for a town or city. Can't secure everything. Lets just try to keep an eye on the wackos and try not to produce so many of them.
 
2014-01-15 03:26:40 PM  

MassAsster: except Y-12 employs mostly Ex-military and ex- law enforcement.... not your standard street person put into a uniform and given a cell phone


Point, there.  I do not have much faith in the notion that LEO and jarheads are parsing the far end of the Bell curve, though, to be honest.
 
2014-01-15 03:29:37 PM  

Ambitwistor: vpb: WTF do we have a weapons grade uranium stockpile?  Who makes bombs out of uranium these days?

Uranium is used in the secondary of thermonuclear weapons.


Y-12 also provides fuel to the U.S. naval reactor program. So all your subs and carriers get their fuel from there.
 
2014-01-15 03:29:46 PM  
This happened a year and a half ago.  How come nobody's posted the old news is so exciting pic?
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2014-01-15 03:33:36 PM  

PaLarkin: This happened a year and a half ago.  How come nobody's posted the old news is so exciting pic?
[img.fark.net image 193x261]



The news now is that their sentencing hearing is coming up.
 
2014-01-15 03:36:03 PM  

MadMattressMack: FTFA: "dared to engage in vital acts of civil disobedience "

And that's where the article lost me and I realized the article was picking sides. Civil disobedience doesn't involve breaking into extremely dangerous places where nuclear weapons research and fuel are stored. If they want to stand at the main gate with signs or block the entrances, fine. But what they did was beyond stupid.


Its hard to protest effectively thee days when the free speech zones are located three miles away from the site, beside the bridge the sex offenders live under.

This kind of thing is more correctly called "direct action". It highlights a specific issue or problem, it is attention grabbing, it sidesteps the traditional political process and is often illegal.
 
2014-01-15 03:56:46 PM  

electricjebus: Not really a story, they didn't make it into any of the buildings containing the enriched uranium, and the security wasn't set up to stop activists, it was set up to stop enough people with the equipment to move enough enriched uranium to become a problem.  Considering all that they were still caught within an hour of being on the grounds.

This kind of thing happens all the time, the outer fences they put up on places like that are just to keep people from wandering in, and so that they can shoot anybody past that point.



From what I understand (in the report that followed this incident), they didn't just breach the outer fences.  They cut their way through the inner fences and made it to the outer part of the building.  Personally, I find that pretty staggering and the report on the security is pretty crazy.  Yes, animals can set off fence, air, and ground sensors but a good security team will physically investigate each point of suspected entry point *immediately*...even if they saw a damn raccoon scramble over the fence.

That was a horrible and inexcusable failure on the part of their security.
 
2014-01-15 04:01:49 PM  
Where are the nit pickin' Farkers?  Y-12 is Oak Ridge, not the "outskirts of Knoxville."  But back in the Secret City days, the address for Oak Ridge actually was a P.O. Box in Knoxville.  Also, it's been a while, but the reports at the time were that they only cut through the fence & never even made it close to any of the buildings.

Interesting, the "Fort Knox of uranium" label in the article.  The story is that they tapped into the precious metals at Fort Knox to build the winding for the centrifuges, as copper could not be spared at the time.
 
2014-01-15 04:14:43 PM  

justanotherfarkinfarker: A fence, wow, big deal. It'd be impressive if they actually got to some uranium. Maybe a nun with superpowers would happen as a result, which may be a good thing.
Anyway, people can do the same thing at airports, power stations, military bases and so on. Someone out in CA cut some cables and shot up some transformers at a substation. Any nut could do the same thing. Take out power for a town or city. Can't secure everything. Lets just try to keep an eye on the wackos and try not to produce so many of them.



They breached the outer fence of the area which is usually patrolled, with gaps, and monitored by lookout tower and cameras.  Once past that, they most likely proceeded to the inner fence and breached that.  I haven't read the details but that is usually a three fence system (for the actual "inner" fence) with *no* monitor gaps from both camera and fixed personnel stations (usually towers with straight line of site to the next manned tower).  Fixed camera arrays cover the entire fenced area.  There are various air sensors and usually ground and fence sensors.  The three fences usually are topped with a variety of barbed and snag wire with one of them set up for electric (though I've never seen one actively on...you would fry a lot of squirrels that way).  Nonetheless, you would need brass balls to walk up to a fence that is obviously electrically insulated (heavily) and start snipping at it with bolt cutters.

The fact that they made it through these fences after tripping alarms (that the security people blew off) is utterly amazing.  The first guard on the scene should have drawn is weapon and made them eat gravel but instead, he sat there with his thumb up his ass.  And the fact that there wasn't a swarm of security on the location is another mind-blowing detail.  It was a screw-up on multiple levels to be sure.
 
2014-01-15 04:34:22 PM  

Beemer_Vol: Where are the nit pickin' Farkers?  Y-12 is Oak Ridge, not the "outskirts of Knoxville."  But back in the Secret City days, the address for Oak Ridge actually was a P.O. Box in Knoxville.  Also, it's been a while, but the reports at the time were that they only cut through the fence & never even made it close to any of the buildings.

Interesting, the "Fort Knox of uranium" label in the article.  The story is that they tapped into the precious metals at Fort Knox to build the winding for the centrifuges, as copper could not be spared at the time.


To anyone living outside East Tennessee, Oak Ridge is the outskirts of Knoxville. Anderson County is pretty much nothing but a Knoxville suburb these days.
 
2014-01-15 04:40:23 PM  

Headso: Is this old news or is she at it again? good for her btw...


Old news.  Years old, in fact.  Not sure why it's being trotted out again.
 
2014-01-15 05:13:52 PM  

generallyso: Comparing the security of a nuclear storage facility to planned Parenthood is apples and airplanes.


Have you seen the nutjobs who show up for Planned Parenthood pickets? I think there is something more likely to happen there than at Y-12. But yes, the security needs are different. I was arguing the point of using these actions to gain media exposure being relevant, not the security needs of the facilities.

jshine: You can't hug an aborted baby with nuclear arms.


static2.fjcdn.comView Full Size


Check please

nardman: Sorry, but this is neither nuclear research nor fuel. The correct term is "fissile material".


Yes it is. It's stockpile stewardship, Naval reactor support, and nuclear weapon parts production and maintenance for every uranium weapon. There is "fissile material" there as well as nuclear weapons storage, manufacturing, and support. Throw in R&D into parts for thermonuclear warheads (as all the original manufacturing notes were lost so they have to come up with the production methods again).

No Such Agency: MadMattressMack:

Its hard to protest effectively thee days when the free speech zones are located three miles away from the site, beside the bridge the sex offenders live under.

This kind of thing is more correctly called "direct action". It highlights a specific issue or problem, it is attention grabbing, it sidesteps the traditional political process and is often illegal.


While that may be true and most cases is not warranted to the point I'd side with your implied point, but in this case I will argue that it was wrong for the protesters to do this. This isn't someplace that random people should be wandering around on. It was illegal and rightfully so given the dangerous nature of the projects and materials there.

If they thought a single warhead would not be produced because of their actions then they were as much delusional as they were wrong. Given that point I can't condone this in any way. I'm not a fan of nuclear weaponry as anything other than a great big firework, but their actions were dangerous to themselves and others. They should be punished.
 
2014-01-15 07:18:20 PM  
Wasn't this reported on like eons ago...Oh wait, Mother Jones....never mind...
 
2014-01-16 06:14:09 AM  
Can we please stop giving those attention whores what they want?
 
2014-01-16 09:42:53 AM  
Wow this place is like an hour and a half from me and I had no idea it was there. I mean oak ridge has been used for enrichment in the past but this place is news to me.
 
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