I've been censured for calling the nuclear plant incident in Japan a "nuclear accident".
I've never exclusively reserved the word accident only for those things which evolve from or are precipitated by human error, but it appears that others feel it should only be used in connection with human error. Dictionaries seem to suggest I'm ok, but I may have to bend to peer pressure. Partly it seems to stem from this particular usage in connection with anti-nuclear groups.
Has the connotation shifted away from merely unforeseen and undesirable events?
If so, what is a better word to use? I'm shying away from problem and incident as they seem inadequate, and disaster as it seems to inflate things beyond what is necessary.