The pump, which came from the Savannah River Site near Augusta, will be used to help cool the reactors of Japan’s Fukushimi-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which was damaged by last month’s earthquake and tsunami. Officials told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik it’s the largest pump of its kind on Earth.
“I think everything is happening, is the first time ever to be flying a pump, the biggest one in the world, on an airplane like this to Japan in such a crisis,” said David Adams, CEO of Putzmeister America, which manufactured the pump. “We hope we don’t have to do it again.”
Adams said he will accompany the pump to Japan to oversee its use. Another similar pump departed from Los Angeles Saturday.
Airport aviation officials told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik there was a lot of logistical legwork involved in getting the Russian Antonov AN-124 cargo jet, one of the largest planes of its kind, off the ground.
We had to go through some special efforts working with the carrier itself to ensure that customs was taken care of, and also to ensure the carrier had the proper information for loading the aircraft itself, and the safety of the aircraft,” Warren Jones said.
Jones said the airport was glad to play a role in this critical mission.
“Weve done stuff to Haiti, for Katrina when it happened here,” said Jones. “So, were just happy to assist in this time of need.
Officials said the flight would take about two days to complete. They hoped to have the pumps in use within two weeks.