I Want a Putzmeister!

Here is an announcement about the concrete pumper that is being used over in Japan to cool the fuel at the nuclear reactor.  This baby as you can read, was being sent to another customer in South Asia until this disaster happened and then Fukushima apparently really needed it badly so they sent it there.  Also, for those of you who don’t get to read the fine print- this type of  machine was used in Chernobyl to entomb the plant in concrete.

It sounds like Japan has outfitted the arm with a camera so that engineers can view the results.  Here is Putzmeister’s news release:

Picture 1627-2: Putzmeister M58-5 uses water to cool Unit 4 (Source: TEPCO)For over 50 years, Putzmeister has been building truck-mounted concrete pumps. They are designed for use in the widest range of concrete applications, such as the construction of bridges or high-rise buildings.

A truck-mounted concrete pump consists of a truck, a support device, a piston pump and a boom with 4 to 6 arm hinges. Putzmeister offers booms with vertical reaches of between 20 m and 70 m. And with the M70, Putzmeister offers the longest boom that is in use in the world.

At the reactor in Fukushima, workers are currently using a M58-5 truck-mounted concrete pump (produced in Aichtal near Stuttgart) that has a vertical reach of 58 m and a 5-arm boom in order to support the cooling of the damaged cooling pools. The advantage of this is that cooling water can be fed a great distance over the destroyed buildings and can be fed to exactly where it is required.


The pump has an output of 160 m³/h at a pressure of 85 bar and is driven by the truck’s diesel engine. This means that it does not have to rely on any external power supply. The machine is operated using remote control which allows the distributor arm to have flexible movement.The Putzmeister M58-5 that is being used in Fukushima was intended for a customer in South-East Asia and was redirected to Japan so that it could quickly reach the nuclear power plant.

Picture 1627-1: An example of a Putzmeister M58-5 being used for high-rise concreting. The concrete is fed through a truck mixer

Picture 1627-4: Putzmeister M46-5 truck-mounted concrete pump being used to extinguish a fire in SigmaringenPutzmeister products have already been used in previous crisis situations. As a result of this, in 1986, a fire-extinguishing kit was offered as a retrofit on truck-mounted concrete pumps.

Since then, Putzmeister concrete pumps have continued to prove their effectiveness, even outside of their original purpose, when crises have occurred.


Picture 1627-3: Putzmeister brochure from 1986



Picture 1627-6: Radiation protection: A truck-mounted concrete pump that is fitted with a lead cover is used in ChernobylIn 1986, after the tragic accident at Chernobyl, Putzmeister helped to make reactor block 4 safe again at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. In total, 11 Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete pumps and stationary pumps were used.


Picture 1627-5: 5 Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete pumps fill the steel moulds (arranged in a pyramid shape) for the new protective walls

Press information no: 1627, date: 22 March 2011

Putzmeister Concrete Pumps GmbH
Max-Eyth-Str. 10
D-72631 Aichtal, Germany
Tel.: +49 7127 599-0
Fax: +49 7127 599-140

marketing@pmw.de marketing [at] pmw.de


Radiation Improves Health :)

Okay, I’m wading into this theory very carefully!  I don’t want to offer false comfort just as much as I don’t want to frighten anyone about the risks of nuclear contamination so I’m going to try to share what I’ve been reading in regard to radiation improving health.

First- that isn’t exactly what scientists are saying.  So the next time someone tells you that radiation is good for you tell them to shut up.  What scientists are saying, if I’m getting it straight is that there is a process called “hormesis”.  That word is a greek word that means “excite”.  In other words when we ingest, or absorb something- even something that is a poison, our bodies overcompensate to restore what physicians call homeostasis.  Your body tries to maintain itself as best as it can.  Okay, so two new words, homeostasis refers to bodies compensating for damage, and hormesis which means bodies compensating so much that they reach a new healthier state.

One article I read said it’s sort of like what Frederich Nietsche said ” What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  Unfortunately there are a couple of problems with hormesis.  One is that the dose load is very variable.  What might be stimulating for one person  could be quite toxic for another.  That is why I’m saying tell the next person who says nuclear radiation is good for you that they are  an idiot!  While a small amount of low dose radiation might be helpful in killing already existing cancers or killing cells that have structural problems- you can’t just radiate people and assume automatically that they’ll be fine without DNA problems and that they won’t get cancer in the future.

Another point is that hormesis isn’t just about nuclear radiation.  It is a proposed biological function that can be seen with lots of things that we’d imagine were poisonous.  Some folks say hormesis goes back to the 16th century Swiss German pharmacologist Paracelsus who said “All things are poison and nothing is without poison.  It is the dose that makes a thing poison.”

So why aren’t you hearing that a little bit of radiation might make you stronger?  There is a good reason for that! We live in a radioactive environment!  And so it is very difficult to determine how much each person might need before they get to their toxic load.  We aren’t dealing with hothouse tomatoes here.  We are dealing with people that have very different exposures, thus they have different low level limits.

So perhaps there are beneficial biologic effects of low level exposure to radiation.  Perhaps we can prove that small doses of “poisons” can have a stimulating and protective effect on cellular function- perhaps it does stimulate immune system defenses and perhaps it does prevent oxidative damage and perhaps it does suppress cancers- small doses of poison can also build up in the system and kill people!

If only that wasn’t true then perhaps we could say that chronic radiation is an effective prophylaxis against cancer….but remember what gets stimulated might be cancer cells!  Biology doesn’t always care about individuals the way we do.

Just think about it.  Perhaps this will explain why no one is telling you to protect yourself in the US.  Low level radioactivity isn’t going to kill you… they think 🙂




A National Health System or Not?

With the recent worldwide danger that our news has been highlighting due to the Japanese nuclear plant crisis I think it’s worth talking about America’s health system once again.

Here in America we have a system that is both public and private.  We do not have a national health system and a lot of people seem to favor that type of system but there is a downside.  Each state gets to make it’s own rules about how it is going to handle health care.  They also have their own systems for reporting dangerous incidents.  They also have no solid connections to other states in the event of an emergency.

While I’m not a big fan of the government monopolizing health care- I am thinking that it might be a good idea to have some type of national system in place that can help in situations that impact the whole nation!

Just think about it next time you object to having to pay for someone else’s health- sometimes health care isn’t about the poor choices individuals make in their own lives- sometimes it is about decisions that large corporations and world governments make that touch on Americans lives.

I’m just suggesting we should have a conversation about it.




How Healthy Are We In PA?

Would you believe that there was a study to rank health statistics across the country by counties?

It’s true! The study is the Wisconsin Population Health Institutes endeavor and they’ve published their findings at this website.

Check it out.  Chester County is ranked at number 3, Montgomery County is number 5 and Bucks is number 6 I think?  Union County is number 1 in PA.

There is a lot of information there so it’s worth taking a look.