It’s probably a safe bet that jokes about nuclear meltdowns and radiation poisoning aren’t going to go over too well right now.

And so, according to Entertainment Weekly, networks in several European countries are pulling episodes of “The Simpson” that contain references to nuclear disaster.

Al Jean, the show’s producer, supports the move:

“We have 480 episodes, and if there are a few that they don’t want to air for awhile in light of the terrible thing going on, I completely understand that,” says Jean, citing the previous example of the 1997 episode “Homer Versus the City of New York” that was pulled after 9/11 because it included key scenes at the World Trade Center. “We would never make light of what’s happening in Japan.”

The show’s creators clearly acknowledge its influence on public perception of nuclear power. In this clip from the show’s 20th anniversary special, Morgan Spurlock (you remember – the guy who ate all those Big Macs) asks nuclear engineers what they think about the various cultural touchstones that have emerged from “The Simpsons” portrayals of their industry.

Clearly, these guys can’t get enough of Blinky the three-eyed fish.

YouTube video

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Jean defended the show’s treatment of the topic.

“There is something that taps into people’s view of big business, and in particular, nuclear power, which is giving profit-minded people complete control over life and death. It is a scary thought, and I think that is a topic for satire.”

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.