|Rescue giant: A $2million concrete pump is loaded on to a special Russian |
cargo plane in Atlanta, Georgia(dailymail.co.uk)
Two of vast concrete pumps being flown to Fukushima plant to avert nuclear disaster
Japanese government bans growing of rice in vicinity of crippled plant
Soil containing high levels of radioactive cesium found in two locations
A massive Russian cargo plane has been used to pick one of the world's largest concrete pumps to pour water on the stricken nuclear power plant in Japan.
The 95-ton pump is mounted on a 26-wheel truck and can be operated from two miles away by remote control, allowing it to shoot water into the damaged reactors.
If necessary, it could also be used to entomb one of the damaged nuclear reactors in concrete.
|High tech: If necessary, the pump could also be used to bury reactors in concrete|
Into the belly of the beast: The massive pump can be remote-controlled from two miles away and could pour water into previously inaccessible parts of the Fukushima plant
High tech: If necessary, the pump could also be used to bury reactors in concrete
Dave Adams, CEO of Putzmeister America, the Wisconsin-based company which manufactures the pump, said: 'Our whole company fells hopeful that our equipment can be used to make a difference in helping solve the problem.'
Japanese authorities have struggled to cool the plant's reactors after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out its backup cooling systems.
The stricken plant is believed to have suffered a partial meltdown of its nuclear fuel after desperate attempts to cool the reactors failed.
It comes as the Japanese government announced it would ban farmers from planting rice into soil contaminated by radiation from the nuclear power plant.
The ban will apply to any soil found to contain high levels of radioactive cesium. Farmers who cannot grow rice will be compensated.
So far, soil that exceeds the new limit has only been found in two places in Iitate, around 25 miles from Fukushima.
Agriculture minister Michihiko Kano said: 'We had to come up with a policy quickly because we are in planting season.
'Following this, I want to hear the opinions of experts and local officials on how to remediate the soil.'
High levels of seawater contamination around the plant prompted Japan to set limits on the amount of radiation permitted in fish for the first time.
The contamination levels have since decreased after plant workers managed to plug a leak in one of the reactors.
Engulfed: This shows the main entrance to the crippled plant, where water tore through the glass doors
Crippled: The March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused catastrophic damage to the coolant systems at the Fukushima plant
Enduring: Evacuees watch television inside a centre in Rikuzentakata. The government today banned the planting of rice in contaminated soil as the country reaches planting season
There have also been concerns about radiation in vegetables and milk, and several countries including China have been imports of some items from Japan.
Experts say people would have to eat enormous quantities of produce or dairy before getting even the amount of radiation contained in a CT scan.
But cesium is a concern because it can building up in the body and high levels are thought to be a risk for various cancers.
It is still found in soil in Germany, Austria and France 25 years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
An official from the U.S. company contacted the Tokyo Electric Power Co, which owns Fukushima Daiichi plant, after watching helicopters and fire trucks struggled to spray water on the plant.
The company managed to reroute a smaller Putzmeister pump that had been destined for Vietnam.
A dozen workers used it to pump 150 tons of seawater into one of the reactor's spent-fuel pools in three hours.
After landing in Atlanta, the cargo jet will join another flying from Los Angeles International Airport and head to Japan.
TEPCO bought the two pumps, which cost $2million each and have a 200ft boom, and is paying for transportation costs.
A magnitude-7.1 aftershock which struck off the coast of Japan on Thursday has not affected the plant.
The quake knocked out power to millions of people and sparked another tsunami warning, but this was later withdrawn.