The Ukrainian Government is exploring options to construct a 4GW solar power plant within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Once completed, the plant would be the largest solar project in the world.

On 26 April 1986, the Chernobyl disaster turned the surrounding 1,600mi² into an exclusion zone due to high levels of radiation. The plant's meltdown led to the deaths of an estimated 100,000 people. Besides the guards and workers who manage roadblocks and barriers, around 62 miles to the north of Kiev has been left barren and uninhabited for 30 years.

Ukraine's environment minister Ostap Semerak was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “The Chernobyl site has really good potential for renewable energy.

"Around 62 miles to the north of Kiev has been left barren and uninhabited for 30 years."

“We already have high-voltage transmission lines that were previously used for the nuclear stations, the land is very cheap, and we have many people trained to work at power plants.”

Once completed, the solar plant would be able to generate about a third of the total electricity produced by the previous nuclear plant.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expressed its interest to be a part of the project.

An EBRD spokesperson said: “The EBRD may consider participating in the project, so long as there are viable investment proposals and all other environmental matters and risks can be addressed to the Bank’s satisfaction.”


Image: Entrance to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Photo: courtesy of Nick Rush-Cooper.