Putting Radiation Exposure in Perspective
Randall Munroe, of XKCD geek-fame, with a senior reactor operator at the Reed Research Reactor, has come up with a chart that illustrates radiation exposure.
It goes from really small exposure (so small that any it is totally lost in the background radiation levels of Earth, more or less radiation depending on where you live) all the way up to spending 10 minutes exposed next to Chernobyl after the explosion and meltdown. Interestingly, the maximum external dose from the "Three Miles Island accident" is about 1/3 of a mammogram, and much smaller than the yearly dose permitted for nuclear workers. The most important question over the next few weeks will be: What level of radiation did the Japanese workers that stayed behind at the Fukushima plant get exposed to? Via XKCD, sources of the radiation chart. See also: Limited Progress Cooling Fukushima's Nuclear Reactors