One of the reasons there's so much fear of nuclear energy is that to most people (myself included) the world of nuclear physics seems completely incomphrensible. Likewise, the term "radiation" is awfully scary, but as in the case with so many other things, the poison is in the dose. This chart is helpful in maintaining a sense of perspective. Note that close proximity to the Fukushima facility on March 16-17 exposed people to only slightly more radiation than women do every day getting mammograms--and to considerably less than they would in having a chest CT done.
Here's an interesting tidbit--one is exposed to more radiation by eating a single banana than one is by living for an entire year within 50 miles of a normally-functioning nuclear power plant.