Biblioteca JB

China Syndrome

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

While visiting the (fictional) Ventana nuclear power plant outside Los Angeles, television news reporter Kimberly Wells (Fonda), her cameraman Richard Adams (Douglas) and their soundman Hector Salas witness the plant going through an emergency shutdown (SCRAM). Shift Supervisor Jack Godell (Lemmon) notices an unusual vibration while grabbing his cup of coffee which he had set down. He then finds that a gauge is misreading and that the coolant is dangerously low (he thought it was overflowing). The crew manages to bring the reactor under control and can be seen celebrating and expressing relief.

 
Richard surreptitiously films the incident, despite being requested to not film the control room for security purposes. Kimberly's superior at work (Donat) refuses to permit her to report what happened or show the film, disgusting Richard, who steals the footage. He shows it to experts, who conclude that the plant came perilously close to the China Syndrome in which the core would have melted down into the earth, hitting groundwater and contaminating the surrounding area with radioactive steam.
 
During an inspection of the plant before it's brought back online, Godell discovers a puddle of radioactive water that has apparently leaked from a pump. Godell pushes to delay restarting the plant, but the plant superintendent denies his request and appears willing to let nothing come in the way of the scheduled restart of the plant.
 
Godell investigates further and finds that a series of radiographs supposedly taken to verify the integrity of welds on the leaking pump are identical - the contractor simply kept submitting the same picture. He believes that the plant is unsafe and could be severely damaged if another full-power SCRAM occurs. He tries to bring the evidence to plant manager Herman DeYoung (Brady), who brushes off Godell as paranoid and states that new radiographs would cost at least $20 million. Godell confronts D.B. Royce, an employee of Foster-Sullivan, the construction company who built the plant, as it was Royce who signed off on the welding radiographs. Godell threatens to go to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but Royce threatens him; and later a pair of goons from Foster-Sullivan parks outside his house.
 
Clasificación [ CM DVD 00553] Disponible en DVD, 4 Piso BJB)