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An American Nuclear Energy Betrayal

By May 3, 2022Cold War, Test Sites

In 2007 at the East Tennessee Technology Park (formerly known as the K-25 plant) in Oak Ridge, TN, a former janitor betrayed his country. 

Roy Lynn Oakley was a janitor at the K-25 plant in 2006 and 2007. Oakley contacted the French Embassy to determine the country’s interest in purchasing nuclear goods. He attempted to sell parts of uranium enrichment equipment that he had stolen from a DOE facility in Oak Ridge. An FBI officer posed as a French government agent, willing to give Roy $200,000 these materials. 

The FBI officer, who Oakley believed to be a French consular employee, handed him $200,000 in cash and Oakley handed back tubes. These were pieces of what they called “barrier,” which is crucial in the production of highly enriched uranium used for atomic weapons through the gaseous diffusion process. 

Oakley was immediately arrested and in 2009, was sentenced to six years in prison at age 67. 

“Roy Lynn Oakley… betrayed his country in order to line his pockets with money. His theft of classified nuclear materials for bombs, and his attempt to sell them for personal profit at the expense of his country’s efforts to protects its nuclear materials, clearly shows that {he} was a traitor to his country and had no regard for the safety of others.”

– Russ Dedrick, U.S. Attorney

 

 

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