Ever since the nuclear disaster back in 1986, the whole region of Chernobyl, Ukraine, has been pretty much alienated. The area, surrounding the damaged reactor was named Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. It covers around 2,600 square kilometers (1,000 sq mi), and it is known to be one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world. The area was fenced off right after the failure of the nuclear reactor, and since then, public access has been restricted.
Of course, after the failure of the nuclear reactor, many people, who had land and property in the region, chose to abandon it and never look back.
Now, 30 years later, the region is beginning to attract interest. There have always been the scientists and the eager adventure-seeking tourists, of course, but joining them today are the investors.
Bloomberg announced that the Ukrainian government is currently seeking for willing parties to give new life to the region. More specifically, they want to turn the area into a huge solar power plant. If this becomes realized, the country will not have to be dependent so heavily on Russia to meet their energy demands. What is more, the region will finally receive some financial boost and some hundreds of new job openings.
According to the country’s Minister of environment, the plan is not so far-fetched. The power transmission lines are already in place, the specialists in energy technology are also there, and the land is very cheap.
Of course, the safety issues will have to be handled first before people are expected to go to work there, and even potentially inhabit the region again. As this has been the aim of the Ukrainian government and the government of Belarus for many years, actions are already taken to contain the nuclear reactors and make the areas suitable for living again. In general, the radiation is very high, but slowly some villages are becoming safe to access again.
So, will we associate Chernobyl with clean renewable energy in a few decades? We will have to wait and see. But apparently, there has already been quite an interest from some large US investors.
Image (C) AP