BFF-47 Chernobyl begins new life as solar power park

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UKRAINE-NUCLEAR-ENERGY-CHERNOBYL

Chernobyl begins new life as solar power park

CHERNOBYL, Ukraine, Oct 5, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Ukraine launched Friday a
park of photovoltaic panels at the former Chernobyl power plant as the
country seeks to use solar power to give the scene of the world’s worst
nuclear disaster a new lease on life.

The 1 million-euro ($1.2-million), one-megawatt plant is located just a
hundred metres (yards) from a giant metal dome sealing the remains of the the
nuclear power plant which suffered a catastrophic meltdown in 1986.

“Today we are connecting the station to the power system of Ukraine,”
Yevgen Varyagin, the head of Solar Chernobyl, a Ukrainian-German company
behind the project, said at the launch ceremony.

The facility, which is installed across an area of 1.6 hectares (4 acres),
can power a medium-sized village, or about 2,000 households.

Plans are to eventually produce 100 megawatts at the site, which due to
contamination from radiation cannot be used for farming.

Ukrainian authorities have offered investors nearly 2,500 hectares to
construct solar panels, and beside the cheap price of the land the site is
also attractive as it offers connections to the power grid.

Foreign investors are attracted by the price at which Ukraine will buy the
solar power, which exceeds the European average by 50 percent, according to
experts.

Ukraine, which has stopped buying natural gas from Russia in the last few
years, aims to diversify its electricity generation.

Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl plant exploded April 26, 1986 and the
fallout contaminated up to three quarters of Europe, according to some
estimates, especially hitting Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Following the disaster, Soviet authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands
of people and the vast territory — over 2,000 square kilometres wide — has
remained abandoned.

The other reactors were only gradually shut down, with the last closing in
2000, ending industrial activity in the area.

Humans cannot return to live in the zone for another 24,000 years,
according to the Ukrainian authorities.

BSS/AFP/RY/1915 hrs