Saturday, September 26, 2009

Power on the move

Our little town had quite the carnival atmosphere this weekend, because visitors were here.

Several weeks ago, two enormous steam generators destined for the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant arrived in the United States. A French company called AREVA constructed the generators, which were shipped by boat across the Atlantic, north through the Chesapeake Bay, and as far along the Susquehanna River as the water depth would allow. Then, the generators were boarded onto specialized carriers to make their way across Lancaster County at 3-4 mph. They arrived in town Friday, and were parked along a side street for the weekend.

These behemoths are 74 feet long, 25 feet high, and weigh in at over 1,000,000 pounds each. The logistics of moving them safely are apparently tremendous, as the sheer weight is a threat to local roads and bridges that were not designed to handle such loads. To help alleviate the strain, each generator is loaded onto a carrier with 24 axles. Each axle supposedly carries weight equivalent to a fire truck. The generators appear to be accompanied by a large fleet of State Police Officers at all times, and local newspapers report that the convoy is over a mile in length when on the move.

On Sunday night, these generators are slated to leave town. They must cross Route 30 to reach TMI, but they are too heavy for the bridge that would take them across the U.S. Highway. So, the plan is to close Rt. 30 in the wee hours of the morning and have the equipment to cross 30 at grade by going up an off-ramp, removing the guardrails that make up the center median, and then exiting by the off-ramp for the westbound lanes.

One of the policemen on duty said they take a corner much better than you would think!

1 comment:

Mrs. Salty said...

Good gracious!

Thanks for the interesting write-up and photos!