Explainer: What Is the Difference Between Radiation and Radioactive Contaminants?

BY Vanessa Dennis  March 29, 2011 at 4:05 PM EST

The damage caused at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has created a host of potential hazards for workers and residents. Radiation and radioactive contaminants can have serious effects on humans, and can spread in a variety of ways. The graphics below examine the difference between radiation itself and radioactive contaminants.

Click on the graphic below for a detailed look at the possible effects: