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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An 84-year-old nun was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison for breaking into a nuclear weapons complex and defacing a bunker holding bomb-grade uranium, a demonstration that exposed serious security flaws at the Tennessee plant.

Two other activists who broke into the facility with Megan Rice were sentenced to more than five years in prison, in part because they had much longer criminal histories.

Although officials claimed there was never any danger of the protesters reaching materials that could be detonated or made into a dirty bomb, the break-in raised questions about the safekeeping at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. The facility holds the nation’s primary supply of bomb-grade uranium and was known as the “Fort Knox of uranium.”

After the protest, the complex had to be shut down, security forces were re-trained and contractors were replaced.

In her closing statement, Rice asked the judge to sentence her to life in prison, even though sentencing guidelines called for about six years.

Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli all said God was using them to raise awareness about nuclear weapons and they viewed their break-in as a miracle.

On July 28, 2012, the three activists cut through three fences before reaching a $548 million storage bunker. They hung banners, strung crime-scene tape and hammered off a small chunk of the fortress-like Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, or HEUMF, inside the most secure part of complex.

Although the protesters set off alarms, they were able to spend more than two hours inside the restricted area before they were caught.

When security finally arrived, guards found the three activists singing and offering to break bread with them. The protesters reportedly also offered to share a Bible, candles and white roses with the guards.

At the first part of the sentencing hearing three weeks ago, more than 100 supporters filled the courtroom and an overflow room where they watched the proceedings on a video feed.

Friends of the defendants testified to their good characters and kind hearts, saying the three had dedicated their lives to pursuing peace and serving the poor.

That hearing was abruptly shut down when the federal court house was closed because of snow, but not before U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar ruled the three had to pay combined restitution of nearly $53,000 for their actions.