Storage tanks, pumps and monitoring equipment from Savannah River Site will be shipped from South Carolina to Japan to help in the battle to stabilize the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima.
"This is what we can send them at this point to support their activities," said Jim Giusti, a U.S. Department of Energy spokesman.
Equipment is also being gathered from federal nuclear sites around the country, he said. Its transfer is being expedited as a "government to government diplomatic exchange" that will convey the gear directly to the Japanese government.
The primary items from SRS, identified by its management contractor, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, include a "radioactive liquid transport assembly," a high-tech, self-contained trailer housing a 1,000-gallon tank, pumps and a monitoring system. A smaller trailer that goes with it includes fuel tanks and a diesel generator.
Also being sent are five storage tanks, each with a 16,000-gallon capacity. They can be used to store radioactive water -- one of the primary contaminants at the Japan site. The total value of all the equipment is about $400,000.
Giusti said the 36-foot-long tanks are made of stainless or carbon steel and were formerly used to store contaminated nitric acid and other materials from the site's F Canyon chemical separations facility.
The tanks, and all other equipment being sent to Japan, are clean and free of any contamination or radioactivity.
"These tanks will be useful for anything liquid they need to treat or do anything with," Giusti said.
Workers at the site are also building wooden "cribbing" to hold the tanks on flatbed trailers.
No departure schedule has been arranged, Giusti said, and U.S. officials are in discussions with Japan's government to determine the best means of transportation to relocate the equipment from SRS to Japan.
No SRS workers are currently scheduled to go to Japan, but site officials were working extra hours to expedite security badges for transportation workers who will help move the equipment.
Another piece of equipment from SRS -- a 190,000-pound cement pump that was in use at the construction site of the mixed oxide fuel facility -- was airlifted from Atlanta to Japan, where it arrived in Tokyo earlier this week. It remained at a facility in Chiba, Japan, on Thursday awaiting transport to the crippled Fukushima plant.