Damage to nuclear power plants in Japan caused by the earthquake and tsunami caused concerns and panic not only among the general public in Japan but also around the world including the people in the U.S.
United States measures radiation dose by the REM unit (Roentgen Equivalent Man), the doses are commonly reported in millirem (mrem) which equals to 1000 of a rem. Japan measures radiation dose by the Sieverts unit (Sv) and doses are commonly reported in milliSieverts which equals to 1000 of a Sievert. Japan imposed a 12 mile evacuation zone around the plant as well as advising residents living within 18 miles to leave the area if they could or to stay indoors and make their homes airtight.
Exposure to radiation can cause radiation sickness. Radiation sickness also known as acute radiation sickness and acute radaition syndrum (ARS) is defined as damage to the body when the body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation often received over a short period of time, the severity of the symptoms depend on the amount of radiation absorbed by the body.