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Machine guns at nuclear plant are remotely operated

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — Remotely operated machine guns are being used for the first time at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant and soon may be used to protect other installations.

National Nuclear Security Administration officials demonstrated one of the weapon systems Thursday at the Y-12 firing range, where it has been undergoing testing and evaluation for about three years.

Jerry Paul, NNSA's principle deputy administrator, called it a "first-of-its-kind technology for providing security that is necessary in a new era of protecting our nuclear weapons complex."

The weapons platform can be mounted on a pole or on an armored SUV, and it can be outfitted with different weapons, from an M-16 to a grenade launcher.

Operators can be in relative safety up to a mile away, controlling one or more weapons with a joystick. Each box has three camera lenses — a scope, a wide angle and a thermal infrared lens for seeing through smoke or darkness.