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China syndrome

a hypothetical nuclear-reactor accident in which the fuel would melt through the floor of the containment structure and burrow into the earth.
Origin of China syndrome
1970-75; from the jocular notion that the hot reactor core would pass through to the other side of the earth Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Contemporary definitions for china-syndrome

a hypothetical sequence of events following a nuclear reactor meltdown, in which the core melts through its container and deep into the earth

Word Origin

from China's being on the opposite side of the earth from a U.S. nuclear reactor's 21st Century Lexicon
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