Y-12 Staff Overhaul Escalates Following Infiltration

A pair of top Y-12 National Security Complex managers stepped down following the recent infiltration of the Tennessee nuclear arms site by three antiwar advocates, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Friday (see GSN, Aug. 9).

Darrel Kohlhorst has resigned as president and general manager of B&W Y-12 after more than four years in the position with the organization that manages Y-12. His replacement is Charles Spencer, a 25-year veteran of nuclear weapons and national security efforts.

In addition, Bill Klemm is no longer serving as B&W Y-12's deputy operations head, according to the firm.

The shakeup was seemingly an unacknowledged response to the July 28 unauthorized entry at the plant by the members of the antiwar group Transform Now Plowshares, according to the News Sentinel. The intruders passed into Y-12's "Protected Area" -- the plant's most heavily guarded section and home to atomic arms activities and bomb-grade uranium storage -- and reportedly dumped blood, put up placards and added painted wording to the sides of structures prior to their apprehension.

The company's moves followed a round of staffing changes announced earlier this month by the Energy Department (see GSN, Aug. 6).

Defensive vulnerabilities linked to the violation are now the subject of several inquiries, including one by the Energy Department Inspector General's Office and another by an autonomous departmental task force. All nuclear activities at Y-12 were suspended following the incident (Frank Munger, Knoxville News Sentinel, Aug. 11).

The three suspects in the case could each face up to one decade of confinement if found guilty of "depredation" of the facility, a new charge issued last week by a federal grand jury, the Associated Press reported. The defendants earlier this month denied guilt of previous charges of entering an area without authorization and of harming government assets with hostile intent (Erik Schelzig, Associated Press/ABC News, Aug. 9).

The suspects -- 57-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, 82-year-old Megan Rice and 63-year-old Michael Walli -- placed blood and written messages on the outside of the site's Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility , the New York Times reported on Friday. A statement circulated by the group condemns the "U.S. government nuclear modernization program" as an "ongoing criminal endeavor in violation of international treaty law" (William Broad, New York Times, Aug. 10).

August 13, 2012
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A pair of top Y-12 National Security Complex managers stepped down following the recent infiltration of the Tennessee nuclear arms site by three antiwar advocates, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Friday.

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