Friday, April 1, 2011

Gigantic concrete pumps will be airlifted from US to Japan to help respond to nuclear crisis Washington Post

Two gigantic concrete pumps — described as the largest such equipment in the world — will soon be on their way to join the machinery being used to pour water on damaged reactors in Japan’s nuclear crisis, company officials said Thursday. The machines are now being retrofitted in North Charleston, S.C., and Sante Fe Springs, Calif. That will allow them to spray water instead of concrete on the nuclear reactors, said Kelly Blickle, a spokeswoman at Putzmeister America Inc. in Sturtevant, Wis. The German firm manufactured the equipment. But if a decision is made to encase a reactor in concrete — similar to a method used in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster — the machines would be capable of doing that as well, Blickle said. The situation in Japan is different than in Chernobyl, where concrete was used to encase the facility, said Berkeley Lab's Ed Morse. More>