Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Short remembrance of the Karen Silkwood movie from lab

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Karen Silkwood was originally the perfect employee for a dishonest company.  She was not an active member of the union and she simply showed up to do her job and left.  One day she saw that a “hot” truck was being cut up and buried in the ground instead of being properly disposed of as nuclear waste.  Then one of Karen’s coworkers got “cooked” and Karen began to worry about getting cancer.  When she wanted to leave to see her children for the weekend there was somehow a contamination in their station.  All her coworkers and her boss were suspicious it was her that caused the contamination.  Shortly after that she was “cooked” herself.  It was not her, but she got moved to the creepy film station where she saw the sexually forward boss man filling in gaps in the film with a sharpie.  She read into her union packet and became active.  She started to catalogue everything that was happening around her and she was contaminated a second time.  She was told to bring more urine samples to ensure that she was not internally infected.   Then one day, someone who did not want Karen to cause the plant to shut down slipped something into her urine testing kit.  She was internally infected.  She went to the doctor and he told her she was going to be fine, but there were some traces of internal contamination.  The company attempted to buy her off, but she refused them and continued to search for illegal actions that were taking place within the plant.  On her way home from a meeting in town she was run off the road and was killed.  This is a very rough synopsize of the Karen Silkwood movie, but it shows the potential for negative consequences that result from improper business practice in an environmentally delicate situation.   After watching this movie, I see the danger that comes when corners are cut to preserve money.  The company appeared to be up to something and perhaps some more rigorous inspections and accident investigations would be prudent when dealing with massively harmful substances.

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