The death toll may exceed 18,000 in Japan from the earthquake and the tsunami. As far as I know, none of the deaths can be attributed directly to the nuclear power plants. There is a lot of talk about the scare of the radiation, and probably some people will die from it. but it is unlikely that the deaths from the nuclear power plants will reach ten percent of the total deaths.
This is not the way the news stories are reporting it. A perspective on the radiation levels can be seen by looking at a chart of radiation exposure. To look at it another way, a reporter going to Japan will probably get more exposure on the plane flight (due to the altitude) than on the ground in Japan.
I am not saying that nuclear accidents aren’t terrible. But compared with the earthquake and tsunami, they are not all that bad.