On November 13, 1974, Karen Silkwood, who was 28 years old, died. Karen’s death may be one of the most well-known cases in Oklahoma. At least one book and a movie have been made about it. But most of what really happened to her is still a mystery.
At the time of her death, Karen worked as a lab technician at a plutonium plant in Crescent. Eventually, she became very worried about how loose the safety rules were and even said that about 40 pounds of plutonium had mysteriously disappeared from the plant. With this much plutonium, you could make about two atomic bombs. Her boss said that there was no way that any plutonium had left the plant. Karen then started working with her union to tell the public about the weak security and quality control measures.
On November 13, Karen was in what has been called a one-car accident. She was on her way to meet with a reporter from the New York Times. Karen Silkwood was ki*lled when her car veered off of Highway 74 and hit a concrete wall. She was supposed to bring papers and pictures with her to the meeting, but they were never found. An autopsy would have shown that when she died. Karen had traces of alcohol and prescription sedatives in her system, which led the police to think that she had fallen asleep at the wheel and caused the accident herself.
But what happened in the days before Karen died is probably the strangest part of her story. Since she worked at a nuclear facility, there was a system in place to sound an alarm when radioactive material came into or left the facility. On November 5, an alarm went off that showed Karen had plutonium in her body. Tests would show that the plutonium came from inside the gloves she was wearing at work. Over the next few days, Karen was closely watched by doctors, and it was found that not only was she very sick on the inside, but so was her flat. More specifically, one of the sandwiches in her flat was dirty. Karen worked for a union, and a private investigator for that union said that when they looked at her car, they saw dents and scrapes along the back bumper. This seems to show that someone hit her car, sending it into the concrete wall and ki*lling Karen.
No one knows for sure what happened before and after Karen’s death. She is either praised as a whistleblower who won’t stop until she gets what she wants or criticised as a martyr who made the problems she was so determined to solve.