What does 'safe' mean in a nuclear disaster?

The news out of Japan has not been good this week. Officials there raised the severity rating of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to the highest level, while the plant continues to dump radiation into the air and water and radiation is found in milk and drinking water in U.S. cities and elsewhere. What does this mean for you and me?

To help make sense of the health and environmental consequences of this crisis, CNET spoke to two experts in the nuclear field. My colleague Martin LaMonica spoke with David Brenner from Columbia University's Center for Radiological Research. Brenner says that while the individual risks are currently low for people outside the area around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, radioactive particles have entered the food chain and will be there for generations, which will likely cause at least some cases of cancer. That Q&A can be found here.

Ira Helfand, board member and past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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