The world's largest concrete pump, deployed at the construction site of the U.S. government's $4.86 billion mixed oxide fuel plant at Savannah River Site, is being moved to Japan in a series of emergency measures to help stabilize the Fukushima reactors.
"The bottom line is, the Japanese need this particular unit worse than we do, so we're giving it up," said Jerry Ashmore, whose company, Augusta-based Ashmore Concrete Contractors, Inc., is the concrete supplier for the MOX facility.
The 190,000-pound pump, made by German-based Putzmeister has a 70-meter boom and can be controlled remotely, making it suitable for use in the unpredictable and highly radioactive environment of the doomed nuclear reactors in Japan, he said.
"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," Ashmore said in an interview Thursday. "Time is very much a factor."
The pump was moved Wednesday from the construction site in Aiken County to a facility in Hanahan, S.C., for minor modifications, and will be trucked to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where it will be picked up by the world's largest cargo plane, the Russian-made Antonov 225, which will fly it to Tokyo.