MovieChat Forums > The China Syndrome (1979) Discussion > Y'know, after watching this again 37 yea...

Y'know, after watching this again 37 years later, I see it differently


I was an impressionable thirteen-year-old when this came out. I remember wanting to see it, but I also remember that it faded very quickly after being released and was about to die a quick, painless death.

And then, just twelve days after it was released, Three Mile Island happened. The line from that expert when they're watching the film - "rendering an area the size of Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable" - was practically prescient.

When I watched it at the time, all those years ago, first in the theater (my friend's mom took us), and then repeatedly about a year later on HBO, the message I got from the movie was, "Nuclear power is safe, or more to the point, would be safe, so long as the goddamned contractors just followed the rules - and even if they don't, the backup systems to backup systems to backup systems will keep us safe."

Now, older and wiser, and more world-weary and jaded, I get the actual message: nuclear power can never be safe, because when money is involved, corners will always get cut, and safety will get compromised. Although this movie is fiction, the underlying fact remains - big corporate America will always do whatever it takes to make sure their precious profit line isn't diminished.




I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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Let's not forget it was for precious profit that they picked up the investigative journalism theme for this movie to begin with, since it was big at the time (All the President's Men, Network, etc).

Making profit from accusing profiteers... Hollywood is such a joke. And we all know who owns and runs Hollywood.

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I don't. Who?




I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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jgroub,

I certainly agree with what you've written. Chernobyl continues to be uninhabitable--if one goes there they must get all sorts of permission, carry warning devices and patches, and cannot stay for more than several days.

The accident in Japan where a 40-foot tsunami hit after an earthquake, causing all 3 nuclear reactors to meltdown, shows the flaws in nuclear power as the industry creates and offers it today. First, the Fukushima reactors were built by the same corporate entity that was caught cutting corners in the U.S. and basically put out of business. It simply dissolved its corporate shells and reorganized, getting the Japanese construction contract as well as a few of them in the U.S. This company has been shown to fail to perform the levels of testing required to ensure safety and strong quality construction. When it comes to the advanced testing, the same paperwork has been used again--but I'm no engineer and trying to remember in detail a documentary I saw years ago is hopeless....

Second, the plant melted down and the water allowed to flood in has never been safely disposed....it was placed in barrels that we don't require be constructed to any standards so they won't leak....same for the location where they were stored. Not only are procedures for dealing with accidents not prepared simultaneously with construction, the people who will be sent in to try to stop the catastrophe are not hired or trained. Instead, the industry is allowed to leave the meltdown in progress, and the govts just send in military people to sacrifice their lives trying to stop the meltdown, limit the damage, begin to try to decontaminate the waste.

Finally, five years later, the Fukushima reactors continue to hold their contaminated fuel and no one even knows exactly where! The town has never been decontaminated. This article describes conditions there as the plant continues to create more an d more waste that no one can clean http://abcnews.go.com/International/inside-wrecked-fukushima-nuclear-reactor-facility-years-disaster/story?id=37551399

Until we have technology that is safe, laws and a system in place to guarantee the bad actors cannot reincorporate under new names and get new contracts, and a safety system and technology that can safely and effectively clean-up if nature deals us a curveball we could not anticipate, we are not technologically advanced enough to use nuclear energy.

As for the troll posting veiled references to the same bs accusations spouted by the racist genocidal monster, he-who-shall-not-be-named, these claims originated with idiot conspiracy theorists of the 19th century. Some just cannot let go in spite of no evidence then, no evidence now.

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By not using nuclear power, we spent four decades using coal, which meant titanic amounts of CO2 and coal dust being pumped into our atmosphere.

Both sources of power have clear downsides, but we should be honest that not using nuclear has meant some consequences to our environment.

I. Drink. Your. Milkshake! [slurp!] I DRINK IT UP! - Daniel Plainview - There Will Be Blood

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Oh, hell yes, I agree. But I think it was still prudent not to build more nuclear in the past 40-odd years, because the designs back then were not idiot-proof - as Chernobyl and Fukushima prove. I'm no expert, but I understand that current (within the last 5-10 years) ARE idiot proof, and we should be building more nuclear now.




I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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Chernobyl and Fukushima were both run very recklessly, to say the least. Not at all indicative of how other plants are run.

I. Drink. Your. Milkshake! [slurp!] I DRINK IT UP! - Daniel Plainview - There Will Be Blood

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Chernobyl, yes; Fukushima, no.

Fukushima was as a result of the natural disaster - that if the worst happens (the tsunami), the plant will meltdown. And it did. Did they handle the tsunami badly? Maybe. Probably. I'll grant you that they did. But at the end of the day, the 50 year-old designs of both of these plants was the Achilles heel that brought them both down.

The modern designs (I think it's called pebble bed) are such that if a Chernobyl or Fukushima type event occurs, there is no meltdown. That's a big deal. In fact, that's a HUGE deal. And that's new within the past so many years.





I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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The last people who want a nuclear plant to have a meltdown are the investors who would lose billions of dollars if it did. So there is a profit motive to properly maintain the plant.

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