Chernobyl has been associated with nuclear disaster ever since the explosion of 1986 at a nuclear power plant that led to 4,000 fatalities from radiation and huge tracts of contaminated land in a 30-kilometre exclusion zone that was cleared and left empty.
However, there is now a glimmer of positivity for the abandoned city, as two Chinese firms are progressing plans to build a huge 1GW solar energy plant across 2,500 hectares of contaminated land within the exclusion zone.
Officials from the Ukrainian government have said that the firms will be spending as much as one billion USD on the development in the coming two years.
Golden Concord Holdings will be using a subsidiary to install and supply the solar PV panels at the site. A second subsidiary from China National Machinery Corporation, which is state-owned, will construct and operate the plant.
The Ukrainian minister of environment, Ostap Semerak, said that the site benefited from cheap land and a natural abundance of sunlight, making a renewables project viable. Additionally, the area benefits from a working electricity transmission system.
Work on the project is expected to begin later this year. The hope is that it will bring a range of benefits to the area, including economic and social gains, alongside the renewable energy benefits, for a part of the country that is still viewed with negativity by many.
The Chernobyl fallout was so vast that radiation emitted from the explosion even reached the hills and mountains of Wales. A large amount of the radioactive dust fell on to agricultural land in Belarus.
However, tourists are now being attracted to the area for guided tours, and wildlife has been spotted in the area by ecologists.