Antipodes and The China Syndrome

by | Feb 10, 2017

The term “China Syndrome” was made famous by a movie of the same name from 1979 starring Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas. In the movie two reporters discover a mishap at a nuclear reactor.  “China Syndrome”figuratively refers to a  nuclear reactor core in meltdown boring its way to the other side of the Earth – putatively China.  Often China is referred to as “the other side of the world.”  Is that true? No.

If you live in the contiguous 48 states, the other side of the Earth is in the Indian Ocean and the closest major land mass is Australia.  The “other side of the World” is technically referred to as the “antipodes.” China, like the US is in the Northern Hemisphere.  So, of course, our antipodes is in the Southern Hemisphere.

Here’s a fun website that will show you, based on your point on the map, where your antipodes is located: Antipodes Map

As a point of interest, the movie The China Syndrome was released just two weeks prior to the Three Mile Island nuclear incident.  The movie and Three Mile Island combined to cause grievous harm to the nuclear power industry in terms of public support and is a material reason why a relatively small percentage of our power in the U.S. is from nuclear plants (about 19% – compare that to France at around 75%).



1 Comment

  1. My personal adventure with the” China Syndrome”at a very young age ,my brother & I were told that if one dug a hole deep enough
    putatively it would reach China,our antipodes.Faithfully every day we dug ,with garden spades,& dug & dug & each morning,with great antipication,we peered into the hole.We were our own nuclear reactor,then the rains came! Today I still wonder if at the bottom of our ” hole” would have been our antipode, China, or the IndianOcean


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