Friday, March 25, 2011

Concrete Pump Truck Technology in Japan (Autoblog)

Meet the 203-foot truck on its way to save Fukushima's No. 4 reactor

Sany pumper truck

Sany 203-foot concrete pumper truck - Click above for image gallery

Japan has turned to its neighbor across the water for help in cooling the number four reactor at the Tokyo Electric Company's nuclear power plant in Fukushima. So far, scientists and engineers have used everything from helicopters to fire trucks to get sea water to the reactor's fuel rods in order to prevent a meltdown, but according to China Realtime Report, a Wall Street Journal blog, a new solution is in the works. A 203-foot long concrete pumper truck has been called up from Chinese heavy equipment manufacturer Sany.

Instead of directing a stream of concrete up a sky scraper, this $1 million truck that was originally on its way to a Saudi client will now be used to pump sea water over the 141-foot reactor group in order to keep everything cool. Even at that height, the truck will still be able to remain 14 meters, or about 46 feet, away. Sany says that the truck left port in China on March 20 and has safely reached Japan, though there's no word on whether or not it has begun operations at Fukushima.

Tokyo Electric Company originally offered to purchase the truck, but Sany is donating it and a full support team free of charge, and this isn't the first time that the construction equipment manufacturer has lent a hand in international disaster efforts. The company also donated a giant crane to assist in the evacuation of the Chilean miners who were trapped in a mine last year.

Unfortunately, the very latest update from Japan is that Fukushima's No. 3 reactor is leaking water with 10,000 times the normal level of radiation, which may indicate a breach of the reactor's core. If that's the case, there's no telling how the Sany pump truck will be used when it arrives on site, or if it will be needed at all.

[Sources: Sany, China Realtime ReportChina News]

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