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18 Mar 2018

'Solar' rays of hope at Chernobyl nuclear disaster site

A new lease of life for Chernobyl

More than 30 years after the worst nuclear disaster in history, Chernobyl is set to get a new lease of life as plans to transform it into a solar farm are in final stages.

This is part of Ukraine's aim to reduce dependency on Russia for its energy needs.

Solar Chernobyl, a Ukrainian-German partnership company is at the forefront of this green energy experiment.

In context

A new lease of life for Chernobyl
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster

History

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Chernobyl nuclear power station is located 65 miles north of Kiev, Ukraine. In April 1986, one of its four nuclear reactors exploded spewing radioactive cloud immediately killing 31 people and is believed to have killed thousands more.

The accident left large swathes of Ukraine and Belarus uninhabitable. According to official reports, nearly 8,400,000 people in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were exposed to radiation.

Chernobyl continued to run even after the explosion

Chernobyl power plant continued to produce energy for 14 years after the 1986 disaster as it was safer to allow the burning of remaining fuel rods rather than removing them. The last of the reactors, Reactor 3 was in use till December 2000.

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The project

What's the transformation plan?

The 1-megawatt Chernobyl solar farm project is estimated to cost $1.2 million and will feature 3,800 photovoltaic panels. It will be capable of powering close to 2,000 homes.

A further 99 megawatts are planned for a future deployment.

The goal is now to lure more companies to generate 1.2 gigawatts of solar energy on the site of the devastation.

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