Extended fence at Y-12 will affect protest spot

1:04 AM, Apr 1, 2013   |    comments
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Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance meets outside the Y-12 entrance for a weekly vigil.

An Oak Ridge group plans to fight a move that would gate off access to an area near the Y-12 National Security Complex entrance.

The National Nuclear Security Administration announced it will extend Y-12's boundary fence to prevent trespassers.  The fence will extend along Scarboro Road, restricting access near the Y-12 entrance sign and along the side of New Hope Center.

Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) meets every Sunday for a vigil near the entrance sign.

"They should put up an 8-foot tall fence like they have all the way around the rest of the facility. It doesn't need to be out at the road," said Ralph Hutchison, with OREPA.

To get on site, OREPA will have to apply for a permit five days in advance and put down a $500 security deposit each time.

Their new location would be inside the boundary fence.

OREPA believes the move will decrease the group's visibility.

"I don't have any serious problem relocating to a different place. It has to make some kind of sense. To move us down the road, a quarter of a mile, inside the security fence makes no sense from a security standpoint," Hutchison said.

Y-12 Spokesman Steven Wyatt said in an email, "While the new fence isn't designed to prevent people from crossing it, it does notify individuals that they are not permitted to go further into the site. This will allow Y-12 security to act sooner if the fence is crossed."

Y-12 has made more efforts to review security since last summer when three protestors managed to penetrate several gates.

A temporary fence is expected to be in place by Thursday.  Next, officials plan to build a permanent barrier. 

OREPA will organized a peace demonstration on Saturday.

The group plans to hire a lawyer this week, concerning the new fence.

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