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Chernobyl's Sunny Future
January 16, 2018 12:05 GMT
Work is nearly complete on a solar power plant that may herald the transformation of land poisoned by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Workers link up wiring for Chernobyl's new solar power plant. In the background is the chimney of the nuclear reactor that exploded in 1986 in one of the world's worst-ever nuclear disasters.
Workers wrestle one of the new Chernobyl project's 3,800 solar panels into position. The Ukrainian-German company behind the project told AFP on January 10 that the solar plant will generate enough electricity to power "a large village," or around 2,000 apartments.
A worker strolls between the solar arrays. The company was quoted in January as saying it expects the $1.2 million project to begin operation "within weeks." Despite the gloomy weather in these photos, Chernobyl reportedly shares the same number of sunlight hours as southern Germany.
The abandoned town of Pripyat, 3 kilometers from Soviet-built Chernobyl power plant. Following the 1986 nuclear disaster, a region of land the size of Luxembourg was declared unlivable and unusable for agriculture.
In 2016, Belarus, also affected by Chernobyl fallout, opened a solar power plant (pictured) on their own poisoned land, sparking interest in the green energy opportunities of the so-called exclusion zone.
With strict prohibitions on drilling into the irradiated soil of the exclusion zone, Chernobyl's new solar panels were mounted onto blocks of concrete.
As well as cheap land, another advantage of the solar plant's unusual location is access to the infrastructure that once channeled electricity from the nuclear plant out to the surrounding towns.
Interest has now reportedly soared in investment opportunities in Chernobyl.
A Ukrainian government spokeswoman told AFP that Kyiv has received about 60 proposals from foreign companies interested in developing solar power plants in the exclusion zone.
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