Friday, April 1, 2011

Putzmeister to Fukushima

From ChannelNewsAsia:
Two of the world's largest cement boom pumps are being rushed to Japan to help cool reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the company that makes the equipment said Friday.

Two giant trucks equipped with powerful pumps and flexible arms with a 70 meter reach will be used to shoot water from giant hoses to cool the nuclear reactors, or cement to seal off the site, said Kelly Blickle, a spokeswoman with the US subsidiary of the German company Putzmeister.

Similar pumps were used in Chernobyl following the April 1986 meltdown, Blickle told AFP.

The boom pumps, normally used to pour concrete for bridges and skyscrapers under construction, can feed water over the destroyed buildings and target the reactor hotspots.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the Fukushima plant operator, "didn't specifically say that they wanted to pump concrete, but it is the option, they don't have to bring in more equipment should that need occur," Blickle said.

The equipment can also be operated via radio remote control -- an operator can be some two kilometers (1.2 miles) away while maneuvering the boom pump....MORE 
From Newser:
US Sending World's Biggest Concrete Pump to Japan
The world's largest concrete pump—a 190,000-pound machine with a 230-foot boom called the "Putzmeister 70Z"—is being sent to Japan to help the troubled Fukushima reactors, reports the Augusta Chronicle.

"There are only three of these pumps in the world, of which two are suited for this work, so we have to get it there as soon as we can," said the owner of the Georgia-based concrete company. "Time is very much a factor." The pump will pump water at first, but later will be used to move concrete to entomb the nuclear material, as was done in Chernobyl. The pump's huge boom can be operated remotely, making it useful for the highly radioactive site.

The crane is so big it needs to fly on the world's biggest cargo plane, the Russian-built Antonov 225, and requires special permits. Along with the American pump,a 190-foot pump is being sent from Vietnam and two 203-foot pumps are going from Germany. None of the pumps can be returned because all will be too contaminated by radiation....MORE