Whatever the outcome with the Japanese nuclear plants, this paints a grim future for the nuclear power industry. I hope they do something responsible with waste/unspent fuel from soon-to-be decommissioned plants (ie, render it unusable/unobtainable by terrorists). But unfortunately there's too much monetary temptation for foreign governments to keep their radioactive stockpiles out of the hands of well qualified buyers. And storage issues - I wouldn't put it past someone to consider dumping spent fuel into the ocean.
Nuclear safety -- oxymoron? Safe considering the process that is happening, and the rare instances of failure. But as a whole, not a flawless system. It is the industrialized version of safety, not fool-proof / fail-safe. Thick concrete walls apparently aren't enough. If the design allows for the possibility of release of radioactive material then it is a risky compromise as far as the public is concerned.