Before dawn on July 28, three activists, including an 82-year-old woman, entered the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (Y-12) at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They were able to access the plant’s highest-security areas.
There are conflicting accounts of how long they were inside the security perimeter before being arrested by the security guards and whether the intrusion was properly detected by the Perimeter Intrusion Detection and Assessment System (PIDAS). The Y-12 Complex stores the nation’s reserve of highly enriched uranium (HEU), a main ingredient of nuclear weapons and power source for many Navy ships.
Security is provided by contractors WSI Oak Ridge and B&W Y-12 overseen by the National Nuclear Security Administration. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was created after 9/11 to oversee security at nuclear facilities. There is discussion about making the NNSA independent of the Department of Energy.
One of the intruders has made a statement relating her version of events. They infiltrated the facility from a nearby ridge. They saw and avoided several white security vehicles. After cutting the first fence, they hid in tall grass while a patrol vehicle passed before advancing and breaching the two additional fences.