Karen Silkwood – USA (1946 – 1974)

Linked with Tony Mazzocchi – USA, and with List of Trade Unions worldwide.

Karen Silkwood (February 19, 1946 – November 13, 1974) was an American labor union activist and chemical technician at the Kerr-McGee plant near Crescent, Oklahoma, United States. Silkwood’s job was making plutonium pellets for nuclear reactor fuel rods. She died under mysterious circumstances after investigating claims of irregularities and wrongdoing at the Kerr-McGee plant … (wikipedia).

Her Union activities.

Karen Silkwood (1946-1974), a nuclear plant laborer who died while investigating safety violations made by her employer, is viewed as a martyr by anti-nuclear activists. Her story was made into a film, Silkwood, in 1983 … (Encyclopedia of World Biography, on Karen Silkwood, About 5 pages / 1364 words – FREE).

Karen Silkwood was a co-founder of the (US) Labor Party.


Karen Silkwood – USA (1946 – 1974)

She worked for the Kerr-McGee plant, Oklahoma.

Was Karen Silkwood Murdered?

  • Controversy Was Karen Silkwood Murdered Part 1;
  • Controversy Was Karen Silkwood Murdered Part 2:
  • Controversy Was Karen Silkwood Murdered Part 3.

Karen Silkwood, Campaigner.

Silkwood said she had assembled a stack of documentation for her claims. She now decided to go public with this evidence, and made contact with a New York Times journalist prepared to print the story. On November 13, 1974 she left a union meeting at the Hub Cafe in Crescent. Another attendee of that meeting later testified that she did have a binder and a packet of documents at the cafe. Silkwood got into her car and headed alone for Oklahoma City, about 30 miles away, to meet with New York Times reporter David Burnham and Steve Wodka, an official of her union’s national office. She never arrived. (wikipedia).

From the New York Times: The Karen Silkwood Story, An Unexpected Twist At The End – HERE IS THE STORY that answers the basic question underlying the Karen Silkwood controversy, 1985.

In the book: No Nukes, everyone’s guide to nuclear power, page 103.

… Karen Silkwood, who died at age 28, was buried in Danville Cemetery in Kilgore, Texas … (full text).

Following her cleanup, the Kerr-McGee health physicists accompanied her to her apartment, which she shared with another laboratory analyst, Sherri Ellis. The apartment was surveyed. Significant levels of activity were found in the bathroom and kitchen, and lower levels of activity were found in other rooms. In the bathroom, 100,000 dpm were found on the toilet seat, 40,000 dpm on the floor mat, and 20,000 dpm on the floor. In the kitchen, they found 400,000 dpm on a package of bologna and cheese in the refrigerator, 20,000 dpm on the cabinet top, 20,000 dpm on the floor, 25,000 dpm on the stove sides, and 6,000 dpm on a package of chicken. In the bedroom, between 500 and 1000 dpm were detected on the pillow cases and between 500 and 2,000 dpm on the bed sheets. However, the AEC estimated that the total amount of plutonium in Silkwood’s apartment was no more than 300 micrograms. No plutonium was found outside the apartment. Ellis was found to have two areas of low level activity on her, so Silkwood and Ellis returned to the plant where Ellis was cleaned up … (full text).

Karen Silkwood remembered.

One day in the spring of 1984, a teenager in eastern Oklahoma’s Muskogee County took his BB gun and went hunting at a pond by Rabbit Hill Farm. He shot a frog that had nine legs. “Freddie the nine-legged-frog” is not the area’s only animal anomaly. People have shot rabbits that have two hearts. And some folks report seeing a two-headed blackbird flying about. But not six-year-old Lisa Girty, who was born without eyes or eye sockets … (full text).

Silkwood’s death.

Blood tests performed on her body showed that she had 0.35 milligrams of methaqualone (Quaalude) per 100 milliliters of blood at the time of her death. That amount is almost twice the recommended dosage for inducing drowsiness. About 50 milligrams of undissolved methaqualone remained in her stomach. Oh yeah, and radiation … (full text).

Karen Silkwood was a $4-an-hour technician at Kerr-McGee Corp.’s Cimarron River plutonium plant about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City … (full text).

1979 … Jimmy Carter 1976 – 1980: IPC financed production of the film China Syndrome released March 16, just as the trial against Kerr-McGee began for exposing Karen Silkwood to plutonium in Oklahoma (photo of Silkwood and her car published in Time March 19 with caption “Wreckage of the death car after mysterious crash in 1974.”) … (full text).

The U.S. Supreme Court, SILKWOOD v. KERR-McGEE CORP., 464 U.S. 238 (1984), Decided January 11, 1984.

Find her and her publications on amazon; on book rags; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.


The Supremacy Clause and Federal Preemption, the issue: how should courts determine whether a federal law preempts state law;

Thebook: the death of Karen Silkwood;

The book: the killing of Karen Silkwood;

The Spence Law Firm;

Madeline Felkins Hotsheets News.

Links to popular culture related to Silkwood:

on IMDb;
Gil Scott-Heron;
The film: Silkwood;
Pine Gap;
the film: Home for the Holydays;

The Shower Head;

the American comedy-drama TV series.

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