KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Success, it seems, is sometimes measured by what you don't have to put up with.
In a move that could be interpreted either as an indication of the full workload for local prosecutors or as a victory for activists, seven anti-nuclear organizers here were surprised Wednesday by a notification that a pending court case against them had been dropped for a lack of evidence.
The seven had been charged with disorderly conduct for a Sept 8. act of civil disobedience at the construction site of a major new nuclear weapons production facility being built here.
The new facility, known as the Kansas City Plant, which will make nonnuclear parts for nuclear weapons, is set to be the nation’s first new major nuclear weapons production facility in 32 years.
During the action the activists blocked access to the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new plant. They stepped in front of buses carrying local, state and federal officials and halted the flow of people into the ceremony for a few minutes.
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The notification of the dropped charges comes about three weeks after two of the activists involved in the September action were arrested for interrupting a city council meeting Oct. 7 by unfurling a large banner while yelling.
In an email to activists, one of the organizers speculated that the builders of the new plant dropped the charges because they didn't want to "attract more publicity."
Currently a part of the Bannister Federal Complex, located about 13 miles south of the city’s downtown area, the Kansas City Plant is responsible for the production and assembly of approximately 85 percent of the nonnuclear components for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The plant is set to be relocated beginning in 2012 to the new facility farther south.
The National Nuclear Security Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, has said the new facility will carry an estimated price tag of $673 million for construction and $1.2 billion over the next 20 years.
NCR has been following the Kansas City Plant for the past year. Here are some related stories:
- Opposing nuclear weapons plant, activists arrested at city meeting
- Activists arrested at nuclear weapons plant groundbreaking
- Before groundbreaking, KC nuclear weapons plant attracts press
- The courage to oppose nuclear bomb makers
- Kansas City Bishop questions local nuclear weapons plant
- Catholic activists arrested at Kansas City nuclear weapons facility
- Hiroshima Day marked by Kansas City activist sentencing