Three anti-nuclear weapons activists arrested July 28 in the high-security Protected Area at the Y-12 National Security Complex have been indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of trespassing, property depredation, and property destruction.
The three defendants—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael R. Walli—are expected to be arraigned this morning in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.
The indictment alleges that Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli willfully and maliciously destroyed and injured, and attempted to destroy and injure, property at Y-12.
It also charges them with committing property depredation by cutting, defacing, and painting property at Y-12, causing more than $1,000 in damage.
It also says the three activists, who called their intrusion Transform Now Plowshares, entered Y-12 without permission.
During an arraignment, the defendants are read the charges against them and advised of their rights, and they plead guilty or not guilty.
This morning’s court hearing starts at 9:30 a.m.
The activists last appeared in federal court on Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley. At that time, they were charged with misdemeanor trespassing and felony property destruction
They are accused of crossing four fences at Y-12, cutting through three of them, early in the morning on Saturday, July 28, before entering the Protected Area, where they allegedly sprayed paint, hung banners, and splashed blood on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where bomb-grade uranium is stored.
The unprecedented security breach has led to a temporary halt in nuclear operations at Y-12 as well as some staff changes. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has called the penetration of the Protected Area, which has attracted national media attention and raised questions about the plant’s security, “unacceptable and deeply troubling.”