Japan Earthquake: Radiation Concerns In The U.S. Remembered After Fukushima (PHOTOS)

03/11/2012 08:52 am ET

After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan and caused the largest nuclear accident since Chernobyl, concerns about radiation exposure emerged in North America.

From airborne radiation to contaminated seafood, fears persisted that the Japanese nuclear accident would have lasting consequences for Americans.

Many of these fears were unfounded though. Radiation from Japan was reportedly only detected at "trace" levels in the U.S. An EPA official reminded Americans that "it's important to understand how these low levels compare to the radiation we experience from natural sources every day," reported the Denver Post.

Within Japan, however, radiation is a much greater concern. A year after the disaster, a 12 mile exclusion zone still remains around the Fukushima plant, according to Discovery News. One of the radioactive isotopes emitted by the nuclear plant, cesium-137, has a half-life of 30 years, meaning it "is likely still in the environment."

To learn more about radiation exposure, click here for a visualization of radiation levels absorbed from common products and activities.

Look back in history and read about some of the most common, and ultimately probably overstated, radiation fears that hit North America in the year after the Fukushima disaster below:

Fukushima Anniversary
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