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Silkwood, Karen (1946–1974)

Karen Silkwood, a union activist and whistle-blower, was on her way to submit proof of safety infractions at Kerr-McGee Nuclear Corporation's Cimarron plutonium plant in Oklahoma when she was killed in an automobile accident. Her fight for nuclear plant safety and her death became a rallying point for the fledgling anti–nuclear industry movement.

Silkwood was 26 and a divorcee with 1 year of medical technology in college when she took a job as a metallography laboratory technician at KerrMcGee's Oklahoma City Cimarron Plutonium Recycling Facility in 1972. She knew little about nuclear power other than that it was thought to be the energy source of the future. That winter, there was a strike by the local Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, in which she played ...

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