Karen Silkwood

1946-1974

Situation

  • Karen Silkwood worked as a nuclear facility technician at a nuclear power plant in Crescent, Oklahoma. She was also a union worker, who became concerned with the safety violations of the plant, especially in the plutonium of their fuel rods.
  • For two days in 1974, she was contaminated by radioactivity, and which was found in her urine and around her apartment.
  • Her and two other local union officials went to Washington, D.C., to talk with national union leaders as well as the Atomic Energy Commission.
  • Silkwood also kept journals of activity at the plant, and took some plutonium rods for examination.
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What Happened

  • Karen discovered many violations of safety at the plant, and was going to bring them to a New York Times reporter, and friend, Drew Stephens.
  • On November 13, 1974, she was killed in what appeared to be a car accident.

Effects

  • After close examination, the car appeared to have been rammed, as dents, paint, and metal fragments were found on it. The folder containing the violations of the plant was also missing from her car, and she had been receiving threats previous to the accident.
  • Her death made her a martyr, and also raised awareness for her cause.
  • The Atomic Energy Commission confirmed three violations at the Cinnaron plant, which eventually shut down.
  • The Academy-Award winning movie "Silkwood" also raised awareness. It starred Meryl Streep as Karen Silkwood, with Cher and Kurt Russell in supporting roles.

Personal Reaction

I respect her as she was a very intelligent, and brave woman who in the end, died for her cause. Also, by looking at the evidence, I think that the "car accident", was someone from the nuclear plant who ran her off the road.

Works Cited

"Karen Silkwood." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.