This is a disaster for Japan, a real catastrophic that will affect every level of their society for decades, if not generations. Don't forget, Chernobyl happened in a rural area where it was relatively easy to rope off a 50 (or whatever) mile radius while the rest of the country went on with their lives. Japan is a tiny island nation, hugely populated, without that luxury. Radiation has entered its foodchain on several levels, and one can only speculate about the long-term situation in their territorial waters. Fish is their major protein staple.
That said, I've always been nervous about nuclear energy. However, considering the thousands of nuclear reactors around the world, it really does have a remarkable safety record with only three major accidents in the past 50 years. Modern civilian globally cannot exist without nuclear energy at this time, but frankly we as a worldwide society have to seriously research safer, cleaner energy sources or in the next century, this planet is going to be in a world of hurt.
I'm not going to panic over what happened in Japan, which was a combination of natural disasters unprecendented in recorded history. If I was Japanese I'd sure panic. This crisis isn't over yet, and there's no way to know the final extent of damage will be to their country. It's already beyond anything we could have imagined a month ago. I'm so sad for them.