Chinese companies plan to spend $1bn building a giant solar farm on land contaminated by the nuclear disaster in Ukraine
The 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine also resulted in vast areas of land being contaminated by nuclear fallout, with a 30-kilometre exclusion zone, which encompassed the town of Pripyat, being declared in the area round the facility.
Now two companies from China plan to build a one-gigawatt solar power plant on 2,500 hectares of land in the exclusion zone to the south of the Chernobyl plant.
Ukrainian officials say the companies estimate they will spend up to $1bn on the project over the next two years.
A subsidiary of Golden Concord Holdings (GLC), one of China’s biggest renewable energy concerns, will supply and install solar panels at the site, while a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Machinery Corporation (Sinomach) will build and run the plant.
“Cumulatively, those would be enough to produce 2.5 gigawatts of power, which would be 2,500 megawatts,”says Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s minister of environment and natural resources. “This is comparable to the output by two units of a nuclear power plant. This is about half the capacity which the Chernobyl power plant had before the disaster.”
“We want to change the perception of the Chernobyl Zone, the Exclusion Zone, from the zone of disasters to the area where changes are happening and the development is ongoing,” Semerak said. “We want to gradually put this area to use.”