The China Syndrome (1979) is thriller story about a sudden unexpected breakdown at a nuclear power plant. Two TV reporters, played by Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, are in a nuclear plant for a news-report on energy production. The two unexpectedly become witness to what they later realize is a cover-up at the nuclear plant. The company they work for is not interested in running the news story and the nuclear plant will do anything to hide the break-down from the public. The two reporters manage to get to the heart of the story with the help of a whistle-blower, who ends up being killed in trying to prevent the plant for pursuing business interests over serious safety issues.
I am not sure what people thought about the plot when the movie was being made or on the day it was released, but within a few days of its release The Three Mile Islands accident happened at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. (For an official summary of the accident click here). Many scientists believe that nuclear energy is the future. The movie and the accident that followed it was a wake-up call for many that the dangers associated with nuclear plants are very real.
This movie was also a great example of the dangers associated with whistle-blowing. The whistle-blower at the nuclear plant was just trying to do what he thought was the right thing to do. We talk a lot about whistle-blowing in schools and colleges encouraging our students to speak up when they see something wrong in their workplace, the movie is about how far things can go for whistle-blowers.