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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Activists Convicted of Nuke Site Intrusion

A federal jury on Wednesday found three peace activists guilty of intruding into a federal facility that holds weapon-grade uranium, the Associated Press reported.

Greg Boertje-Obed, 56, Megan Rice, 83, and Michael Walli, 64, were convicted of injuring national defense and damaging government property for their July 12, 2012, break-in at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee.

The three made their way through multiple fences into the "Protected Area" that houses the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. They scrawled wording on the structure and removed a small piece of its exterior before being detained by security personnel.

"They're lucky -- and thank goodness they're alive -- because they went into the lethal zone," prosecutor Jeff Theodore said, referring to the Y-12 sector in which guards are authorized to use deadly force against intruders.

"My regret was I waited 70 years," said Rice, an 83-year-old nun. "It is manufacturing that which can only cause death."

The acting head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees Y-12, noted during a Capitol Hill hearing that the incident led to replacement of the site's management and security head.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 23, AP reported. Top punishment for the national defense charge alone is 20 years in prison; defense attorneys are seeking to have that charge tossed.

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