Young people from Knoxville and Maryville have planned a peace rally, demonstration, and march in Oak Ridge on Saturday to protest the proposed Uranium Processing Facility, which they call a “bomb plant,” at Y-12 National Security Complex, a press release said.
The peace rally and demonstration is called Action for Peace and Disarmament, and it starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2, at Alvin K. Bissell Park with a bring-your-own-picnic lunch, a press release said. It will be followed by a youth led program at 1 p.m. and a march to the Y-12 at 2 p.m.
“While young people will provide the leadership, the event is open to people of all ages,” organizers said in the press release.
Organizers argue that Y-12 produces thermonuclear weapon cores in violation of the United States’ obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and the multibillion dollar UPF would manufacture thermonuclear weapon cores for 75-80 years.
“We have our whole future ahead of us, and it is in our hands to make it what we want it to be,” said a Call to Action, which the young people will release at the rally at Bissell Park. “We have a responsibility to continue the work of our predecessors.”
Participants in the rally will be asked to sign a letter to John Eschenberg, project manager for the Uranium Processing Facility.
“The billions of dollars being spent on the UPF could be spent in much better ways, such as developing hydrogen fuel cells as a primary energy source, or to improve our education systems by building more schools and improving resources available to schools,” said the press release from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, which has opposed the UPF and nuclear weapons work at Y-12.
“Building the UPF leads to the advancement of nuclear weapons,” says Carmella Cole, organizer for the Youth Action for Peace and Disarmament. “That increases the likelihood of nuclear war—which is unfathomable destruction. The work at Y-12 endangers the wellbeing of the whole world. How do we think we have the power to do that?”
“The UPF is a waste of money,” said the letter to Eschenberg. “And the $6.5 billion dollar ‘price cap’ does not include the cost of sustaining operations in other aging buildings.”