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Could Chernobyl Become a Solar Farm?

03 Aug 14:00 by Steve Walia

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The Ukrainian government is considering the possibility of whether Chernobyl, the nuclear wasteland which is still vastly contaminated, could ultimately be re-purposed and used to create one of the biggest solar energy farms in the world, generating up to a third of the energy that it originally produced at the height of its nuclear production three decades ago but without the associated risks.

A presentation of the possibilities has been shared with potential institutional investors and global media outlets, and it focuses on 6,000 hectares of land standing unused in the exclusion zone. It is still considered to be far too dangerous to be farmed or to be used for residential purposes, but some scientists believe it could be used for solar generation and biogas development.

For years there has been pressure on the authorities to allow it to be used for industrial purposes, but so far they have held firm. Perceptions are changing, however, and thirty years after the fallout tragedy, many are keen to see it developed and brought back into use, subject of course to the terms of the exclusion area and safety evaluations.

Ukraine's government believes that 400MW of non-solar power could be generated at the site, along with over 1,000 MW of solar energy. This compares to the original nuclear capacity at Chernobyl of 4,000 MW.

The land here is certainly plentiful and cheap, and the sun is strong and reliable. Additionally, there are still intact grid lines and the necessary infrastructure in place, meaning that development costs could be attractive.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has already suggested that they might be willing to lend funds for the plan, and Canadian banks are also rumoured to have expressed early interest in the proposal.