The worst nuclear accident in history, took place in 1986 at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine, causing the death of 50 people, and an additional 4,000 fatalities due to the exposure to radiation.
Besides the human losses, a vast area of land was contaminated by nuclear fallout, creating a 20-mile wide exclusion zone around the former nuclear plant that included the town of Pripyat, and which has become a ghost town after that.
These days, two Chinese companies announced that they plan to invest up to $1 billion over the next two years, to build a 1 GW solar power plant in the exclusion zone, using an area of 2,500 hectares of land located south of the former Chernobyl power plant.
One of China’s biggest renewable energy company, which is a subsidiary of Golden Concord Holdings (GLC), will supply and install all the solar panels needed by the future solar power plant, while a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Machinery Corporation, called Sinomach, will build and run the entire solar power plant.
Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s minister of environment and natural resources stated that the land in the exclusion zone is cheap and receives an abundant amount of sunlight over the year, which makes it perfect for a solar project in the area.
The land also benefits from the old electric transmission facilities used by the former nuclear power plant, and which now will be reused by the future solar power plant.
In a recent press release, Shu Hua, chairman of the GLC subsidiary, stated that the work at the future solar power plant may start during this year (2017), and emphasized the social and economical benefits created by the future green project in the area, saying that renewable energy will renovate a former heavily damaged area.
Until now, the town of Pripyat and actually the entire exclusion zone were forbidden for most people, and many former residents of the town were allowed to visit their old homes and the graves of their relatives, only once or twice a year.
The growing interest for the Chernobyl area increased lately due to the large number of tourists, and also due to a major engineering work at the former plant where a new steel-clad sarcophagus was recently wheeled into position over the entire structure, to prevent any further leaks of deadly radiation.
Ecologists that visited the exclusion zone around Chernobyl have seen an abundance of wildlife in the area such as deer, elk, wild boar and even wolves.
Other researchers stated that the area is still contaminated fact that is proven by the limited activity of the insects in the exclusion zone, and due to the presence of diseases in the small mammals.
By now, neither the Ukrainian authorities nor the Chinese have failed to mention the safety measures adopted during the construction of the solar power plant, but these details might be presented to the public later this year.
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