New security regulations at Y-12 did not stop about 60 people from gathering on Saturday at its gates.
Added security from the Oak Ridge Police Department was on hand to make sure no one breached the new, temporary fence Y-12 installed outside of its complex earlier this week. According to Y-12 Spokesperson Steven Wyatt, the fence was set up to deter any future trespassing incidents.
Still, the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance said it was determined to go through with its plans to protest activities at Y-12 regardless of the complex's new fence. While the fence, bars the group from the patch of land they have protested at for 25 years, it could not stop them from protesting across the street on Saturday instead.
Their main focus was to denounce Y-12's plans to build a new Uranium Processing Facility for an estimated $6.5 billion. The group argues it is a costly project that is also wasteful.
"We're wondering why Congress, why fiscal conservatives, continue to pour money down this rat hole," said Ralph Hutchinson, coordinator of OREPA.
But, Wyatt argues that the new facility is needed to replace an aging facility at Y-12. He also says it brings other benefits too.
As we continue to dismantle nuclear weapons no longer needed, the new UPF will also serve an integral role in the [National Nuclear Safety Administration's] commitment to dismantle and process nuclear material," he said.
Three people were also arrested at Saturday's protest along Illinois Avenue. Oak Ridge Police officers took three people into custody they say impeded the flow of traffic.