The China Syndrome Essay

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In his 1979 film, The China Syndrome, James Bridges brilliantly exposes the danger and room for secrecy that coincides with the large scale production of nuclear energy. And, though the film is fictional, its release date’s synchronization with The Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident in Pennsylvania works to bridge the film’s content into real life relevancy. Not only is the film exciting, as it keeps one on the edge of his or her seat, but the information that it releases about the science behind nuclear energy provides the viewer with a succinct yet informative insight into the areas of nuclear power that is often kept in the dark from the public. In The China Syndrome, two of the main characters - a news reporter named Kimberly Wells and her cameraman, Richard Adams - witness firsthand a reactor SCRAM during their visit to a nuclear power plant. The SCRAM, which entailed an emergency shutdown of the nuclear reactor, allowed Wells and Adams to observe the reactor slipping out of human control. At first, the scientists were unable to discern what the problem was, but after the resetting of a broken gauge it became apparent that the water levels were dropping dramatically. Furthermore, if said levels …show more content…
Though the nuclear industry repeatedly argues that it has “defense in depth”, preparation for every possible scenario, I believe that such reasoning is only valid to a certain extent and draws a perfect parallel to the concerning human idea that somehow we have power over everything. At such a time in nuclear history, the use of nuclear power was still relatively new - and still is today for that matter -, yet the industry seemed to believe that they knew everything. But, as seen in the film, they failed to prepare for the one thing more unpredictable than nuclear power: human beings and the inevitability that we will eventually make a

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