How a handful of operators averted a nuclear meltdown

There will be songs, books, poems, and movies written about them in coming years, all deserved: Nature: “The meltdown that wasn’t”:

It will probably be years before anyone knows exactly what happened inside the three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi that seem to have partially melted down in the wake of the tsunami. But from press reports, public statements and interviews with experts, it is possible to work out the most likely scenario. And already it is clear that decisions made in the initial 24 hours by the handful of operators in the control room probably averted a much greater nuclear catastrophe than the one that now faces Japan.