The word ‘Chernobyl’ is hardly synonymous with safe and sustainable renewable energy. After the 1986 disaster that resulted in 50 direct deaths and up to 4,000 fatalities from the nuclear fallout, the site of the world’s largest nuclear disaster has been a no-go zone for years, emitting radiation that travelled as far as Wales.
Yet times have changed, and two companies from China are aiming to make this part of the Ukraine home to a one-gigawatt solar power plant covering 2,500 hectacres just south of the Chernobyl plant. Ukrainian officials have stated that $1 billion is expected to be spent on the project over the next two years by the Chinese subsidiaries of Golden Concord Holdings (one of Chinas biggest renewables concerns) and Sinomach. GLC statework on the plant will start sometime this year.
Ukrainian minister of the environment Ostap Semerak, believes the site is more than suitable for the project, offering ‘cheap land’ and ‘abundant sunlight’.
It could be a new, bright future for Chernobyl, rebuilding the local community and perhaps is a fitting tribute to those who suffered as a result of the disaster.