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20 mars 2015 5 20 /03 /mars /2015 08:45
Pelindaba Nuclear Research Center. (photo Douglas Birch - Center for Public Integrity)

Pelindaba Nuclear Research Center. (photo Douglas Birch - Center for Public Integrity)


19 March 2015 by Peter Fabricius, Foreign Editor, Independent Newspapers, South Africa - defenceWeb


In the early hours of 28 July 2012, three people, one of them an 82-year-old nun named Megan Rice, broke into the Y-12 Nuclear Security Complex near the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Y-12 is where all of America’s highly enriched uranium (HEU) – for making nuclear weapons – is made or stored: about 400 000 kg of it, according to The New Yorker magazine.


Rice and two others from the Plowshare anti-nuclear activist group managed to cut through three fences, paint slogans and splash blood on the football-field-sized building housing the Y-12 arsenal before a few of the 500-odd security guards finally arrived to arrest them. This demonstration by Plowshare – one of many over the last 35 years – was designed in part to show that America’s nuclear weapons were not secure from theft by terrorists. Which it did.


Five years earlier, in November 2007, two groups of intruders cut through the security fences surrounding South Africa’s 118-acre Pelindaba Nuclear Research Centre, west of Pretoria. They got as far as the emergency operations centre before a barking dog alerted a stand-in security officer, who called for back up. The intruders fled after shooting a security officer’s boyfriend, though not fatally.



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