I first met Cal Abel during a flurry of correspondence associated with actions he recommended after the Fukushima event. Cal, a former submarine Engineer Officer and current PhD candidate at Georgia Tech, had produced some rapid response papers with useful ideas for the people responding to the events.
One idea in particular that Cal produced and promoted sometime before March 17 (based on our email thread) was using a concrete pumper truck to reach up and aim water directly into the elevated spent fuel pools. He had determined that trying to fill a pool by dumping water from a helicopter was completely futile. Based partly on his experience in a family construction business he knew that machines designed to pump concrete for upper floors of tall buildings could be used to pump water just as easily. When the task was filling up an elevated pool from a safe standoff distance, the concrete pumper was the right tool for the job.
A few days after Cal managed to get his idea publicized, Tokyo Electric Company contacted SANY Heavy Industry, a company that owns large concrete pumping trucks.
On March 19th, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which runs the plant, mailed Sany Heavy Industry, hoping to purchase Sany 62m concrete pump to support the water spraying operation in the nuclear plant.
Cal and I have continued to exchange email and even had the opportunity to meet face to face at the ANS Student Conference held in Atlanta in April of this year. I have been meaning to invite him to share some of his current research with you. He is working on some interesting technologies that could vastly expand the market reach of nuclear energy into areas that are currently the exclusive domain of fossil fuel.
I hope you enjoy the show.