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'Nuclear' Simpsons episodes off air

2011-03-29 14:57
Berlin - The German broadcaster of The Simpsons said on Monday it has decided not to show any episodes of the satirical US cartoon series depicting nuclear disasters in light of Japan's atomic emergency.

"We are checking all the episodes and we won't show any suspect ones, but we won't cut any scenes," Stella Rodger, a spokeswoman for private broadcaster Pro7, told AFP. "We haven't postponed any yet."

The nuclear plant in the Simpsons' hometown of Springfield is however a key element in the long-running show, with the hapless Homer in charge of safety despite a slapdash approach evident from the opening credits onwards.

Previous episodes have shown nuclear waste dumped in a children's playground, plutonium used as a paperweight, cracked cooling towers, luminous rats and three-eyed mutant fish, as well as near-meltdowns.

"Of course we can't completely change the entire content," the spokeswoman acknowledged.

Dangers of nuclear power

Surveys show that people in Germany are particularly uneasy about the dangers of nuclear power, with shipments of radioactive waste regularly attracting angry protests.

On March 26 tens of thousands of people - 250 000 according to organisers - took part in demonstrations around Germany protesting against nuclear power in light of events in Japan.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced earlier this month a three-month moratorium on plans to extend the operating times of Germany's nuclear plants and ordered that the seven oldest reactors be shut down.

The issue was a decisive factor on March 27 in a key state election defeat for Merkel's conservatives, with the nationally resurgent anti-nuclear Greens doubling their share of the vote.

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