There seems to be confusion about what radiation is and where it comes from. Many people believe it is the radiation that comes directly from nuclear power plants that poses a threat to public safety. In fact it is the radioactive atoms, which can escape in the event of an explosion, that pose a safety risk. They can be scattered by the wind over hundreds of kilometres. Then they may be ingested or breathed in. If they release radiation at this point, it is damaging to the body's molecules and cells because the radiation is delivered directly to tissues.