A Japanese court yesterday cleared three energy firm bosses of professional negligence in the only criminal trial stemming from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown. The three men were senior officials at the TEPCO firm operating the Fukushima Daiichi plant and had faced up to five years in prison if convicted. The court said in the ruling that the executives could not have predicted the scale of the tsunami that overwhelmed the plant and triggered the accident. The massive tsunami that swamped the nuclear plant in March 2011 after a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake killed at least 18,500 dead or missing. No one was killed in the nuclear meltdown. The decision is likely to be appealed.