Three activists, including an 83-year-old nun, who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex, a uranium processing plant in Tennessee, were convicted on Wednesday of interfering with national security.
The group calls themselves the Transform Now Plowshares, a reference to the biblical phrase, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks."
The trio spent two hours inside the facility, known as the Fort Knox of uranium, and vandalized the building. They painted slogans, chipped off parts of concrete with a hammer, and splattered human blood on the walls.
Greg Boertje-Obed, one of the activists, said that they squirted human blood from baby bottles to represent the blood of children spilled by the plant’s weapons.
The breach of security resulted in a two-week shutdown of the plant, said prosecutors, while security staff was retrained and defense contractors replaced.
Some members of Congress applauded the group’s work, saying that it drew attention to the facilities flawed security system. Considering the facility is the primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium, it says a lot about its security when three elderly activists can easily break past its gates.
The three could face up to 10 years of imprisonment for refusing to plead guilty, and up to 20 years for sabotage.
The sentence is surprising considering rallies outside the Y-12 are often underpublicized and never prosecuted, in order to strip activists of the attention they seek. The longest sentence ever pronounced was less than a year in prison.
When asked if she regretted her decision, Megan Rice said, “My regret was I waited 70 years.”