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Abandoned Chernobyl site could become massive solar farm

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The contaminated site could find a new life as a source of renewable power

Talk about adaptive reuse. Thirty years after an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant forced tens of thousands of people to permanently abandon their homes, the Ukrainian government is exploring a novel concept that would utilize the abandoned radioactive countryside.

Unfit for human habitation (at least for the next 20,000 years or so), the contaminated land is being considered for the site of a massive solar farm, according to The Guardian. Considering the acreage available, it could have a significant impact. While Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant was equipped to generate 4,000MW of energy, the Ukrainian government believes that solar and biogas generators at the site could produce about 1,400MW of energy.

People are forbidden from living within the nearly 400 square miles of contaminated land surrounding Chernobyl, so the proposed 15,000-acre solar farm doesn’t have a lot of competition for space or face battles over land use. Additionally, the area is already outfitted with the infrastructure needed to connect to the country’s electrical grid.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)—which supplied the $500 million required to build the steel containment "sarcophagus" over the nuclear reactor—is considering investment in the solar farm project.

Source: The Guardian