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.

Where to follow news about Japan

Like many, I’ve been sending my thoughts, prayers, and donations to resources related to Japan this week. The scale of the devastation is hard to comprehend. While CNN and other stations seem to have woken up and the NYTimes has been fantastic, these days you can get local news when an event occurs from anywhere in the world, translated to English. The following two sources of news I’ve been following all week long:

Kyodo News

NHK World

On Twitter:



In addition, the following Metafilter conversations have been powerful reminders that simple software, with strong community participation and active, thoughtful guidance, is the secret sauce to grow a discourse online:

On the nuclear crisis

On the earthquake and tsunami

On helping

Here are some additional links to check out:

Google’s Crisis Response

Rafe Colburn has additional links

CrisisWiki: 2011 Sendai Japan Earthquake and Tsunami