and the tsunami?
So WHY wasn't the Fukishima plant designed to cope with a large tsunami?
The main backup system for off-grid power DID fail, and through an entirely for-seeable event. (It wasn't designed for a 9, but tsunami could have occurred for a quake well within what it was designed to withstand - and incidentally, the quake as it was felt on-site WAS within the Fukushima design spec.)
It's like security : implementation is all, and you have to look at the wider system. These are Mark 1 GE BWR reactors, which are known to have particular issues associated with them. They need active cooling, and the bodge to vent hydrogen was not (as far as I am aware) something in the initial Mark 1 design - it was added later by GE because the initial design was perceived to be potentially unsafe.
Active cooling requires power, so the failure of the backup power is a failure of the wider reactor safety system.
Your talk of triumphs is like talking about how strong link 1 is in the chain, and link 2, and link 3, then passing over the fact that link 4 is pretty dodgy. Who gives a damn about the strength of the individual links - it is the strength and integrity of the chain that is important.
Don't forget this is the plant at which safety records were falsified recently, leading to the resignation of senior executives.
You say, they never ran out of options: but flooding the core with seawater is an "option" is an the same way as hacking your arm off with a pen-knife is an "option" if you are handcuffed to a girder in a burning building.
Like you, I am impressed that the plants survived the initial, gigantic quake with containment vessels intact and control rods in place - but the wider system clearly did NOT work as it was designed to. There should NEVER be a situation in which you have fuel rods exposed to the air as appears to have been the case to one extent or another at all 3 reactors. You say there has been no core meltdown - but there has almost certainly been partial meltdown and according to Kyodo news there may well be meltdown in progress. (The MOX fuel rods having a lower melt point probably makes them more at risk. )
The hydrogen explosion events? Masashi Goto, who helped design the containment vessels at Fukushima and thus we assume knows a thing or two, is a little more concerned than you: he is quoted by the BBC as saying that his greatest fear is "that blasts at number 3 and number 1 reactors may have damaged the steel casing of the containment vessel designed to stop radioactive material escaping into the atmosphere." HE thinks that next 24 hours are going to be critical - so a little early for such a triumphalist article, perhaps?
To pretend the current situation is somehow an unqualified success for nuclear power, as you seem to imply, is absurd.
What exactly would you regard as constituting "failure" in this context ?
Here is one definition: as soon as a reactor enters a state in which you decide you ought to evacuate x hundred thousand people, have a mass screening programme and distribute iodine tablets, then in all the ways that really matter in a democracy, that reactor has FAILED. (And the fact that in order to bring it to a safe state you have had to introduce material into the reactor that damages it irrevocably probably means that it has failed the test of economic viability.)
You are not going to persuade the wider public that nuclear power can be safe, and economically viable, until you address what has gone on at Fukushima with a little more humility.