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. (Read more Japan nuclear plant stories.)