China syndrome

China syndrome

noun
a hypothetical nuclear-reactor accident in which the fuel would melt through the floor of the containment structure and burrow into the earth.

Origin:
1970–75; from the jocular notion that the hot reactor core would pass through to the other side of the earth

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Main Entry:  China syndrome
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a hypothetical sequence of events following a nuclear reactor meltdown, in which the core melts through its container and deep into the earth
Etymology:  from China's being on the opposite side of the earth from a U.S. nuclear reactor
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