Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The China Syndrome

by Antonio C. Antonio
December 19, 2014

Early last night, my son Monty (Richmond Anthony A. Antonio) asked if I knew of an old movie that has transcended its relevance to the present generation.  He added that the film should be older than him.  It took me a few minutes to travel down memory lane to recall two films --- “Mississippi Burning”, released in 1988, which was racial in context and an even older movie “The China Syndrome” which was a film of environmental concern.  Monty got intrigued by “The China Syndrome” (perhaps because of the title) enough to get him to download the film and watch it.  Around 10 pm, Monty came back to me to say that he appreciated the tip.

Here is a Wikipedia item about the movie: 

“The China Syndrome is a 1979 American thriller film that tells the story of a television reporter and her cameraman who discovered safety cover-ups at a nuclear power plant.  It stars Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas, with Douglas also serving as the film’s producer.

The cast features Scott Brady, Kames Hampton, Peter Donat, Richard Herd and Wilford Brimley.  The film was directed by James Bridges and written by Bridges, Mike Gray and T. S. Cook.

It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Lemmon), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Fonda), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (George Jenkins and Arthur Jeph Parker) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.  It was also nominated for the Palme d’or (Golden Palm) at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival, and Lemmon won Best Actor for his performance.  The film’s script won the 1980 Writers Guild of America award.

The film was released on March 16, 1979, 12 days before the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  Coincidentally, in one scene, physicist Dr. Elliot Lowell (Donald Hotton) says that the China Syndrome would render “an area the size of Pennsylvania” permanently uninhabitable.  The basis for the film came from a number of nuclear power plant incidents and in particular the Brown’s Ferry Alabama Nuclear Power Plant fire which occurred four years earlier in 1975.

“China Syndrome” is a fanciful term --- not intended to be taken literally --- that describes a fictional worst-case result of a nuclear meltdown, where reactor components melt through their containment structures and into the underlying earth, “all the way to China”.”

Nuclear energy remains to be a largely debatable and divisive energy alternative; the environmental implication of which remains unresolved and, perhaps, undetermined.  I remember having written two blogs: “Nuclear Waste and the Four Laws of Ecology” and “Nuclear Energy” which could be found in the following links --- http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2014/10/nuclear-waste-and-four-laws-of-ecology.html and http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2014/10/nuclear-energy.html respectively.  You may want to check these links to appreciate an old movie that goes by the title: “The China Syndrome”.

Just my little thoughts…

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