Putzmeister pumps & Fukushima exclusion-zone road trip
April 10, 2011 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Putzmeister pumps Fukushima up.

The German-made Putzmeister 70Z 'Juggernaut' is the worlds largest truck-mounted boom pump. Normally used for pouring concrete in high places (Bay Bridge San Fran), but also for pumping water, the boom can reach over 220 feet, and can be remotely operated from 1.5 miles away. An earlier model the 52Z was used in 1986 to entomb the Chernobyl reactor in concrete, setting a record at the time for the most volume of concrete poured. Currently, two 70Z's are being flown to Japan with at least 4 more on the way, two from the USA, aboard the Soviet-designed Antonov An-124's, the world's second largest cargo aircraft. They will be used to cool the reactors with water and, if things get critical, to entomb the reactors in concrete.

See also video (bottom of page first FPP link) of a road trip into the exclusion zone.
posted by stbalbach (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I saw one of them at the Atlanta airport Friday. My flight in from DC taxied right past the pump, which was sitting in a cargo area, waiting for the Antonov jet to arrive later that evening to fly out to Japan the next morning. Just DAMN that thing was big.
posted by deadmessenger at 11:58 AM on April 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

I saw a different photo of the Putzmeister pump/truck being loaded onto the Antonov An-124 yesterday. It is huge, but the thing that struck me - that airplane can lift that thing? Amazing.
posted by Xoebe at 12:03 PM on April 10, 2011

See also video (bottom of page first FPP link) of a road trip into the exclusion zone.

I said it in the Fukushima thread, but it seems really unwise to be walking around in dirt and debris so near the power plant without any kind of protection. Besides breathing stuff in, they're also tracking radioactive containments back into their car, and back to wherever they live.

The Japanese government is about to enact a law that prohibits entry into the 20km exclusion zone. It's probably a good idea.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:11 PM on April 10, 2011

Hitachi is working hard to secure Reactor No. 4, but it's not as if they have a magic wand.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:16 PM on April 10, 2011 [15 favorites]

Hitachi is working hard to secure Reactor No. 4, but it's not as if they have a magic wand.

I can't favorite this hard enough. I'm going to need a battery-operated helper.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 12:19 PM on April 10, 2011

Man I love the name of this company. Bonus points if it's pronounced Poots-meishta.
posted by phaedon at 12:19 PM on April 10, 2011

I wish articles would better emphasize that the concrete pumps are being used to pump water, and that their ability to pump concrete is something that may be done if things start to go badly, but which isn't really something they think would be necessary at the moment. I've heard from like three friends that they were planning on pumping concrete on it, when that's really not the case.

It's interesting how we get details in bits and pieces about the situation, have to translate them, and then build a coherent story about what's going on, while I have the impression in the past, we'd more get bigger chunks of developing stories delivered periodically. Chernobyl, of course, being the exception due to a coverup that meant people outside and inside the Iron Curtain were kept in the dark until it was becoming very clear something was wrong.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:22 PM on April 10, 2011

Nuke pr0n. Warning, primitive thinking ahead: I've noted all the phallic/sexual imagery connected with the, er, Fuk us hima situation: the diagrams of the, er, reactor. The, er, containment. The, er, rods. The parts of the reactor. Even the explosion. Core damage.

And now all this putzing, hoping it doesn't, er, come to this or spread like this.

Vaguely relieved others have thought about this topic too.
posted by nickyskye at 1:09 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd be very surprised if Reactor #2 (and possibly #1) wasn't entombed in concrete if they confirm that the core is on the floor. As far as I'm aware, there's not really very much that you can do to clean that up.

The An-124 and An-225 have both proven to be incredibly useful aircraft in disaster-relief situations. It's a shame that we don't have more of them.

The An-225 is particularly a beast -- only one was ever built (with a second partially completed). From what I can tell, the An-124 will be used to transport the smaller of the pumps to Japan, while the lone An-225 will be used to move the largest equipment from the US to Japan.

The An-225 can carry in excess of 500,000lbs of cargo. By comparison, the largest 747 variant can carry just shy of 300,000lbs (with the never-actually-built A-380F able to carry 330,000lbs -- the same as an An-124, albeit with a larger volume).

I think it's safe to say that the world needs a second An-225.
posted by schmod at 1:09 PM on April 10, 2011

Telstar Logistics has a good story on this with loads of pics and a video.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:12 PM on April 10, 2011

That single Antonov An-225 is a gem... and as the construction of the second airframe has ceased as of 2009... priceless.


...indeed. A dream, for when our nightmares come true.

I wonder if the latest series of disasters will see further pressure to have the second airframe completed...

Who do we ask?
posted by PROD_TPSL at 4:00 PM on April 10, 2011

I just like saying "Putzmeister".
posted by zardoz at 4:16 PM on April 10, 2011

Putzmeister has some renown among patent specialists thanks to its "Bastardring" (seriously).
posted by Skeptic at 4:29 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

And their big competition: Schwing.
posted by bink at 6:07 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

A smaller version of this liquid concrete-pumping truck appeared at our work site one day. As the job was finishing up, I was standing by, observing the operation, and I mentioned to the technician that I had always wondered exactly how they clean the concrete out of the tubes. He said to me: "Now you'll find out."

He took a generic foam nerf-ball out of his toolbox, shoved it into the end of the nozzle, went to the controls, cranked the pressure direction to 'reverse', and hit 'engage'.
posted by ovvl at 3:45 PM on April 12, 2011

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