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Y-12 to keep protesters at a distance

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - When protesters show up at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge on Aug. 6, facility security won't be as hospitable as in the past.

For the second year in a row, the group holding a s "Names and Remembrance Ceremony" and reading the names of those who died in the Aug. 6, 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, will not be allowed onto a grassy area near the Y-12 entrance.

Following a July 28, 2012, break-in by three Plowshares protesters, including an 82-year-old nun, the government erected a new security fence blocking access to the plant's sign and front yard.

The security fence was constructed of galvanized-steel barricades tied together end to end, and the NNSA said that was a temporary measure until it could construct the more-typical boundary fencing with barbed wire.

National Nuclear Security Administration spokeswoman Rebekah Nwangwa told the Knoxville News Sentinel the government still intends to build a permanent barrier.

"But we've not formulated any specific plans at this time and have not set a schedule for when we intend to pursue the installation of a new fence," Nwangwa said via email.

The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance tried legal measures to bring the fence down, but those proved unsuccessful.

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