Utilities Eye Chernobyl for Solar Energy Park

 

Jul 14, 2017

It appears that the global site most famously associated with nuclear accidents might be brought back to life.

Bloomberg is reporting that Ukraine is talking to one of France’s largest energy companies about building a billion dollar solar park in the uninhabited radioactive zone surrounding the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

The French utility is working on a feasibility study and is reportedly one of 60 companies that have expressed interest in a project that would turn a 1,000-square-mile “radiation-polluted swathe of land” into a massive renewables park. The Independent says Chinese companies GCL System Integration Technology Co and China National Complete Engineering Corp have also expressed an interest in planning a 1-gigawatt solar project on the site.

According to Business Insider, “solar power generation is the only way the no-go radiation zone around the disaster site can be used productively,” as it offers abundant sunshine, yet farming is off limits for the next few centuries due to remaining contamination. One of the incentives attracting investors to the area is its existing power transmission infrastructure, as well as a feed-in-tariff system that stipulates a low fixed-price per kilowatt through 2030. That said, Business Insider also says that some banks are a bit wary of financing projects in the no-go zone, and that labor costs could be high considering installation and maintenance will need to be in short shifts since workers can’t be in the area for long periods of time.