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Forklifts made for nuke clean-up

Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks in Houston has developed two special heavy duty forklifts with radiation-shielded cabins to handle contaminated rubble at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.


Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks in Houston has developed two special heavy duty forklifts with radiation-shielded cabins to handle contaminated rubble at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The forklift (weighing 30 tons) is based on Mitsubishi’s 15-ton unit and was developed, then manufactured in one month and features a sealed cabin made with 100 millimetre-thick steel plates and 230-millimetre lead glass. All sides are welded to provide maximum shielding.

Special filters remove dust and other radiation-contaminated material and the air-conditioned cabin is pressurized by air purifier to prevent the intrusion of external air.

The 7.3 x 2.5 x 3.9 metre vehicles have a load capacity of 9,000 kilograms and come with hinged forks, bucket, box clamp and pivoting fork that will efficiently transfer low-level radioactive waste into transfer containers.

The first of two units was delivered in the first week of May followed by the second later in the month to a joint venture involving Taisei Corp., Kajima Corp. and Shimizu Corp. that was handling the clean-up.

Because of the project’s urgency, MHI says it has not worked out a cost for the trucks yet.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) is the parent company of Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks. Its forklifts are manufactured and distributed by Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc.

www.mit-lift.com