This is a misconception
Everything emits radiation. Walking around NYC subjects you to radiation. And it is well documented that certain levels of radiation are completely harmless.
Up to 250mSv per day is completely harmless. Up to 1000mSv per day has short term effects but not long term.
There have been a few readings outside of the plant itself up to 1000mSv but rarely. Even inside the plant some of these levels weren't reached
Meanwhile, a robot placed on the second floor of Unit 1 measured radiation levels up to 2,000 MilliSieverts/hour—or 200 rems/hour—far too high for people to work in. And Tepco now acknowledges that the containments of Units 2 and 3 also almost certainly have been breached by molten fuel, which indicates a similar scenario to Unit 1—thousands of tons of water that have been pumped in to keep the reactors cool has become highly radioactive water leaking back out. There is likely far less water in the pressure vessels than Tepco previously believed.
edit: sorry since I'm supposed to date everything now. That's from may 16th.
Edited by Floppin, 19 May 2011 - 06:57 PM.