On November 13, 1974 an Oklahoma plutonium plant worker and activist died in a mysterious car crash on her way to expose the plant’s lax safety record. That worker was Karen Silkwood. Silkwood, whose story inspired a 1983 hit movie named after her, was a pioneering health and safety activist and whistleblower.
In an age of conformity, when people feared for their jobs, Karen Silkwood stood as an exception. She may have been afraid to speak out, but she did not let fear stop her. Her courage is remembered in this documentary about the young woman who ripped off the facade of corporate responsibility at the Kerr-McGee Nuclear Fuel Processing Company’s plant in Oklahoma. Silkwood was concerned that the lack of safety standards there were killing her and her co-workers. She led protests. She was on her way to tell her story to a national news reporter, when her car went out of control and she was killed. Many suspect sabotage. Her untimely death served to draw the nation’s attention to the industry’s practices, as never before. Archival news footage, and the accounts of those who knew her, tell the story of Karen Silkwood.