Turns out nuns have more up their habit sleeves than knuckle-rapping rulers and twee songs for Austrian children. Sister Megan Rice, 82, is an anti-nuclear activist who just broke into the Oak Ridge nuclear reservation, site of the country’s main supply of enriched uranium — an operation which experts call “the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex,” according to The New York Times.
This New York City-born nun, who taught school in Africa for years, has already been arrested more than 40 times for civil disobedience. But this latest operation required her to complete tasks worthy of James Bond: Rice and her two partners made their way through the wooded Oak Ridge compound in Tennessee, using bolt cutters to get past fences and dodging armed guards and motion sensors.
Once they reached the new Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, they doused it with blood and hung banners outside with messages like “Swords into plowshares,” the Times reports.
The three activists, set for trial Oct. 10, now face up to 16 years in prison and up to $600,000 in fines. Sister Rice told the Times why she took on this mission:
“[The U.S. spends] more on nuclear arms than on the departments of education, health, transportation, disaster relief and a number of other government agencies that I can’t remember.”…
“We’re free as larks,” Sister Rice said of herself and her older religious friends. “We have no responsibilities — no children, no grandchildren, no jobs.”
“So the lot fell on us,” she said of fighting nuclear arms. “We can do it. But we all do share the responsibility equally.”
All we have to say about that is this: