China wants to turn Chernobyl exclusion zone into solar power plant

China wants to turn Chernobyl exclusion zone into solar power plant

Two Chinese companies have announced plans to build a one gigawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, reviving the site after the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history, reports.


Thirty years after a catastrophic meltdown in 1986 forced the authorities to evacuate all people and create an exclusion zone within a 30 kilometer radius of the Soviet nuclear plant located on the territory of modern Ukraine, Chinese clean energy giant Golden Concord Holdings Limited (GCL) embraced the ambitious project of reviving the area by building a solar plant within the exclusion zone’s confines.


GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI), a subsidiary of the GCL Group, announced that it would cooperate with the China National Complete Engineering Corp (CCEC) on plant construction, which is expected to be started in 2017.


CCEC, a subsidiary of state-owned China National Machinery Industry Corp, will be the general constructor of the facility and will run the project while the GCL-SI will provide and install solar components. The total cost of the project has not yet been revealed.


Plans to revive the exclusion zone were previously voiced by the Ukrainian government. In October, Ukraine’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources announced a plan to build a solar plant not far from the abandoned nuclear reactor.


“It is cheap land and abundant sunlight constitutes a solid foundation for the project. In addition, the remaining electric transmission facilities are ready for reuse,” Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s minister of environment and natural resources, said at that time.


The project is also a key part of the GCL’s plan to build up its international presence.