The US government’s only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium has been temporarily closed after anti-nuclear activists breached security fences.
The facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was shut down on Wednesday after at least three protesters, including an 82-year-old nun, cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.
WSI Oak Ridge, the private contractor responsible for protecting the facility, is a subsidiary of G4S, which has faced heavy criticism for its failure to provide sufficient staff at the Olympic Games in London.
The activists, who called themselves Transform Now Plowshares, painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, according to government officials.
Although the activists triggered security sensors they were still able to reach the building’s walls before WSI Oak Ridge staff intercepted them.
In a statement the three activists said they had passed through four fences and walked for “over two hours” before reaching the uranium storage building, on which they hung banners and crime-scene tape.
The activists’ spokeswoman, Ellen Barfield, 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 on Thursday before a US magistrate judge in Knoxville, Tennessee.
A detention hearing is set for Friday afternoon, when prosecutors must show the defendants are a flight risk and a danger to the community in order to keep them in custody, according to court officials. The trial date is 9 October.
A spokeswoman for G4S declined to comment.
Government officials said the contents of the facility were not compromised.
[Strict nun via Shutterstock]
Protesters give Donald Trump a one-finger salute as Marine One flies over DC protests
President Donald Trump returned to Washington, DC on Saturday as large crowds of protesters fill the city's streets.
Trump had flown to Florida to see the launch of the SpaceX Starship and returned as the sun was going down.
BuzzFeed News reporter Ellie Hall captured a picture of Marine One approaching the White House -- and being welcomed back to town with raised middle fingers.
Trump, in Marine One, just did a flyover of the protest area outside the White House.
Trump announces he has unilaterally decided to let Putin back into the G7 Summit: report
President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he intends to let Russia attend the next Group of Seven summit.
Since 2014, Russia's membership in the organization has been suspending in response to Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea. That changed the name from the G8 Summit to the G7 Summit.
The announcement came from pool reporter Gabby Orr of Politico, who said Trump will also invite South Korea, Australia and India to the next summit, which he is postponing until September.
More via pooler: “‘I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,’ he said. Alyssa Farah said this is bringing together our traditional allies to talk about how to deal with the future of China.”
Seattle mayor imposes emergency curfew — set to begin only 14 minutes after her announcement
The mayor of Seattle announced on Twitter that she would be signing an executive order imposing a curfew.
"I will soon be signing an emergency order and the city of Seattle will be imposing a 5 pm curfew soon," Durkin tweeted at 4:46 p.m. -- only 14 minutes before the order was set to go into effect.
"Crowds need to disburse from downtown immediately," she ordered.
"While many individuals gathered peaceful, some individuals have started fires and are destroying buildings. There are multiple fires downtown and it is an extremely dangerous situation. @Seattelfire (sic) does not have access to buildings," she continued.