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Nun, age 85, fellow anti-nuclear activists who vandalized uranium bunker likely to remain free

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists are likely to remain free because the government said Monday that it will not seek to have a sabotage charge reconsidered.

Sister Megan Rice was originally sentenced to three years for vandalizing an Oak Ridge, Tennessee, bunker storing much of the nation's bomb-grade uranium. Sixty-six-year-old Michael Walli and 60-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to five years.

Rice said in a phone interview that the news that about the appeal is a relief. However, she said she still wants the facts to get out about the purpose of the action.

"We were exposing and opposing crimes against humanity, which the intention to build weapons of mass destruction happens to be, most blatantly," she said.

In 2012, the activists cut through fences and sneaked into the most secure area of the Y-12 National Security Complex. Once there, they hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: "They will beat their swords into ploughshares."

They were convicted in 2013 of sabotage, but last month, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Cincinnati, threw out that conviction.

The activists were ordered resentenced on a remaining conviction for injuring government property. However, they were released from prison on the grounds that their new sentences would likely be shorter than the two years they had already served.

The deadline for the government to appeal was Monday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Theodore confirmed the government will not seek a rehearing.

The activists still are required to pay nearly $53,000 in restitution to the government.

Noting that she and the others have taken vows of poverty, Rice said, "You can't milk a dry cow."

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