Fear of ionizing radiation is not unnatural, since it can pose significant risks; however this fear may become abnormal and even irrational, often owing to poor information or understanding, but also as a consequence of traumatic experience.
Castle Bravo and its influence on public perception 
In 1954, the Castle Bravo test caught the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru in its radiation plume, even though it was fishing outside the predicted fallout area. All of the crew fell sick, and Kuboyama Aikichi, the boat's chief radioman, died less than seven months later, on September 23, 1954. It was later estimated that about a hundred fishing boats were contaminated to some degree by fallout from the test. Inhabitants of the Marshall Islands were also exposed to fallout, and a number of islands had to be evacuated entirely.
This incident created widespread fear of uncontrolled and unpredictable nuclear weapons, and also of radioactively contaminated fish affecting the Japanese food supply. With the publication of Sir Joseph Rotblat's findings that the contamination caused by the fallout from the Castle Bravo test was nearly a thousand times greater than that stated officially, outcry in Japan reached such a level that the incident was dubbed by some as "a second Hiroshima". To prevent the subsequent strong anti-nuclear movement from turning into an anti-American movement, the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed on compensation of 2 million dollars for the contaminated fishery, with the surviving victims receiving about ¥ 2 million each (US$ 5,550 in 1954, US$ 47446.65 in 2013).
The Castle Bravo test and the new fears of radioactive fallout inspired a new direction in art and cinema. The Godzilla films, beginning with Ishirō Honda's landmark 1954 film Gojira, are strong metaphors for post-war radiophobia. The opening scene of Gojira echoes the story of the Daigo Fukuryū Maru, from the initial distant flash of light to survivors being found with radiation burns. Although he found the special effects unconvincing, Roger Ebert stated that the film was "an important one" and "properly decoded, was the Fahrenheit 9/11 of its time."
A year after the Castle Bravo test, Akira Kurosawa examined one person's unreasoning terror of radiation and nuclear war in his 1955 film I Live in Fear. At the end of the film, the foundry worker who lives in fear has been declared incompetent by his family, but the possible partial validity of his fears has transferred over to his doctor.
Nevil Shute's 1957 novel On the Beach depicts a future just six years later, where nuclear war has released so much radioactive fallout that all life in the Northern Hemisphere has been killed. The novel is set in Australia, which, along with the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, awaits a similar and inevitable fate.
Radiophobia and Chernobyl 
In the former Soviet Union many patients with negligible radioactive exposure after the Chernobyl disaster displayed extreme anxiety about low level radiation exposure, and therefore developed many psychosomatic problems, and with an increase in fatalistic alcoholism being observed. As Japanese health and radiation specialist Shunichi Yamashita noted:
We know from Chernobyl that the psychological consequences are enormous. Life expectancy of the evacuees dropped from 65 to 58 years -- not [predominately] because of cancer, but because of depression, alcoholism and suicide. Relocation is not easy, the stress is very big. We must not only track those problems, but also treat them. Otherwise people will feel they are just guinea pigs in our research.
The term "radiation phobia syndrome" was introduced in 1987. by L. A. Ilyin and O. A. Pavlovsky in their report "Radiological consequences of the Chernobyl accident in the Soviet Union and measures taken to mitigate their impact,"
Is this only—a fear of radiation?
Perhaps rather—a fear of wars?
Perhaps—the dread of betrayal,
Cowardice, stupidity, lawlessness?
The term has been criticized by Adolph Kharash, Science Director at the Moscow State University because, he writes,
It treats the normal impulse to self-protection, natural to everything living, your moral suffering, your anguish and your concern about the fate of your children, relatives and friends, and your own physical suffering and sickness as a result of delirium, of pathological perversion
However it must be noted that the psychological phobia of radiation in sufferers may not coincide with an actual life threatening exposure to an individual or their children, but a display of anxiety disproportionate to the actual quantity of radiation one is exposed to, with in many cases, radiation exposure values equal to, or not much higher than, what individuals are naturally exposed to every day from background radiation producing a disproportionate increase in an individuals anxiety levels - that is termed radiophobia. Anxiety following a response to an actual life threatening level of exposure to radiation is not radiophobia, nor misplaced anxiety, and in this particular case, the anxiety is justified.
Radiophobia and health effects 
The term "radiophobia" is also sometimes used in the arguments against proponents of the conservative LNT concept (Linear no-threshold response model for ionizing radiation) of radiation security proposed by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) in 1949. The "no-threshold" position effectively assumes, from data extrapolated from the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that even negligible doses of radiation increase ones risk of cancer linearly as the exposure increases from a value of 0 up to high dose rates. This is a controversial model as the LNT model therefore suggests that radiation exposure from naturally occurring background radiation, the radiation exposure from flying at high altitudes in airplanes, the act of laying next to loved ones for extended periods - due to radioactive Potassium-40 naturally found in bones, and the eating of bananas, which are also weakly naturally radioactive all increase ones chance of cancer.
Moreover, the lack of strong evidence supporting the LNT model, a model created from extrapolation from atomic bomb exposure, and not hard experimental evidence at low doses, has made the model controversial. As no irrefutable link between radiation induced negative health effects from low doses, in both human and other mammal exposure experiments, has been found.
On the contrary, many very low dose radiation exposure experiments find positive (hormetic) health effects at low doses of radiation, therefore the conservative LNT model when applied to low dose exposure remains controversial within the scientific community.
See also 
- Lorna Arnold and Mark Smith. (2006). Britain, Australia and the Bomb, Palgrave Press.
- Beverly Deepe Keever (February 25, 2004). "Shot in the Dark". Honolulu Weekly. Retrieved 2008-11-30. "The Japanese government and people dubbed it “a second Hiroshima” and it nearly led to severing diplomatic relations."
- In 25 April 1949 the US dollar was pegged to the YEN at $USD 1 = 360 YEN
- Keiji Hirano (Feb 29, 2004). "Bikini Atoll H-bomb damaged fisheries, created prejudice". chugoku. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Gerard DeGroot, The Bomb: A Life, Random House, 2004.
- Chicago Sun-Times
- Bella Belbéoch, RESPONSABILITES OCCIDENTALES DANS LES CONSEQUENCES SANITAIRES DE LA CATASTROPHE DE TCHERNOBYL, EN BIELORUSSIE, UKRAINE ET RUSSIE, in: Radioprotection et Droit nucléaire [eds.: Ivo Rens and, Joël Jakubec, collection SEBES, 1998, pp. 247-261 (English translation: "Western responsibility regarding the health consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe in Belarus, the Ukraine and Russia")
- L. A. Ilyin and O. A. Pavlovsky,"Radiological consequences of the Chernobyl accident in the Soviet Union and measures taken to mitigate their impact" IAEA Bulletin 4/1987.
- "The Chernobyl Poems of Lyubov Sirota"
- "A Voice from Dead Pripyat" by Adolph Kharash Science Director, Moscow State University
- Zbigniew Jaworowski, Radiation Risk and Ethics, Physics Today, 52(9), September 1999, pp. 24-29