Masao Yoshida, 58, was at the Japanese power station on March 11, 2011, when towering waves swamped cooling systems and sparked meltdowns that released plumes of radiation.
Yoshida led the subsequent effort to get the crippled complex under control, as workers battled frequent aftershocks to try to prevent the disaster worsening.
Government contingency plans revealed after the event showed how scientists feared a chain reaction if Fukushima spiralled out of control, a scenario that could have seen other nuclear plants engulfed and would have meant evacuating Tokyo.
His selfless work is contrasted in the public mind with the attitude of his employers, who seemed willing to abandon the complex and are popularly believed to have shirked their responsibility.
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