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The China Syndrome

The China Syndrome is a 1979 American drama neo-noir thriller film directed by James Bridges and written by Bridges, Mike Gray, and T. S. Cook. The film stars Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, Scott Brady, James Hampton, Peter Donat, Richard Herd, and Wilford Brimley. It follows a television reporter and her cameraman who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant. "China syndrome" is a fanciful term that describes a fictional result of a nuclear meltdown, where reactor components melt through their containment structures and into the underlying earth, "all the way to China".

Plot

While visiting the (fictional) Ventana nuclear power plant outside Los Angeles, television news reporter Kimberly Wells, her cameraman Richard Adams and their soundman Hector Salas witness the plant going through a turbine trip and corresponding SCRAM (emergency shutdown). Shift Supervisor Jack Godell notices an unusual vibration in his cup of coffee.

Awards