OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — Officials like to refer to the Y-12 National Security Complex as the Fort Knox for highly enriched uranium, which is why an unprecedented incursion by an 82-year-old nun and two fellow protesters has critics mocking the notion that the weapons plant is secure.
Operations resumed last week after being shut down over the embarrassing incident 18 days earlier. The Department of Energy has called on the contractor that runs the sensitive facility just west of Knoxville to explain why it shouldn't be replaced.
Y-12 makes uranium parts for every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, dismantles old weapons and is the nation's primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium.
Officials insist that despite the more than two hours that the protesters went unchallenged on the facility, there was never any danger of them getting to materials that could be detonated on site or used to assemble a dirty bomb.