Chernobyl begins new life as solar power park

October 5, 2018
New solar panels at the site of the closed Chernobyl power plant, scene of the world's worst nuclear disaster

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 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 grid.

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

Solar will give a new lease on life to the contaminated site, as well as diversify Ukraine's power sources

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.

Explore further: Ukraine puts out forest fire around Chernobyl

Related Stories

Ukraine puts out forest fire around Chernobyl

June 7, 2018

A forest fire that had raged for three days in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986, was put out Thursday and no increase in radiation in the air was detected, authorities ...

Recommended for you

Meteorite source in asteroid belt not a single debris field

February 17, 2019

A new study published online in Meteoritics and Planetary Science finds that our most common meteorites, those known as L chondrites, come from at least two different debris fields in the asteroid belt. The belt contains ...

Diagnosing 'art acne' in Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings

February 17, 2019

Even Georgia O'Keeffe noticed the pin-sized blisters bubbling on the surface of her paintings. For decades, conservationists and scholars assumed these tiny protrusions were grains of sand, kicked up from the New Mexico desert ...

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 05, 2018
solar/wind = 20% solar/wind + 80% coal/oil/gas
Intermittent renewables are just 'decorative facades' for the fossil fuel industry in order to displace carbon-free nuclear energy, the safest even including Chernobyl.
death/TWh: coal 161.00, oil 36.00, solar 0.44, wind 0.15, hydro 0.10, nuclear 0.04
German coal plants cause 20,000 premature deaths each year, in contrast to <60 confirmed deaths(most not related to radiation: helicopter crash, machinery explosion, etc.) at Chernobyl.
Air pollution from fossil fuels(backup for intermittent renewables(bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers)) respects no border and kills thousands of people every day, millions every year.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 05, 2018
@Warmwilly just doesn't get it. The irony of the picture is seeing solar on top of a nuclear power plant that exploded and released tons of radiation through the area. After the radiation fades to background levels a thousand years from now then it might be time to replace those solar panels haha.

The issue with nuclear plants, of course, is they are expensive. It's not just the billion-dollar cost that it takes to build a plant and get the insurance and get the government to agree, to get locals to agree, etc etc, it's the fact that the cost per kilowatt-hour is incredibly High, and most people don't want to pay it. It's that simple. Solar/Wind, on the other hand, is nearly free. You do the math.
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 05, 2018
Solar/Wind, on the other hand, is nearly free. You do the math.
Solar/wind is free and renewable but solar panels/windmills/batteries aren't.
When "batteries included": wind/solar becomes prohibitively expensive and takes more fossil fuels to make it than it will ever return. In no way intermittent renewables are solution to Climate Change, they produce more ecological impacts than energy.
It is cheaper and more ecologically friendly to build a coal/gas-fired power plant, because a wind/solar farm(bird-chopper/landscape-destroyer) will require anyway a coal/gas-fired backup plant to compensate intermittencies.
Wind/solar aren't alternative to fossil fuels.

If Climate Change is a serious issue, carbon-free nuclear power is the only way to go.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 05, 2018
@Warmwilly says a bunch of horse shit and then claims "nuclear power is the only way to go.". If that was true you would see nuclear plant everywhere but we don't because they're expensive as hell and they don't provide a good source of energy that people feel safe with. There is not a more expensive source of energy than nuclear that's a fact.

Wind and solar energy are far superior in the fact that the resource used to create the electrical energy that feeds the grid is free and abundant and will continue on forever ( more or less). So it seems to me that it's far more advantageous to spend money developing solar and wind technology over nuclear technology when creating a power source for civilization.

If you disagree with that then something is wrong with your logic and your and thinking that makes the person question your motivation for posting on physical work about solar energy.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2018
Carbon-free nuclear is the safest per unit of energy produced, fewer fatalities and less ecological impacts than renewables even including Chernobyl and Fukushima.
There is not a more expensive source of energy than nuclear that's a fact.
Think again:
Solar: 24.3 ¥/kwh
Wind: 21.9 ¥/kwh
Nuclear: 10.1 ¥/kwh
Less than 4¢/kwh, >90% capacity factor, reliable/weather-resilient carbon-free nuclear energy, batteries unneeded:
"US nuclear plants are some of the lowest cost generators available. In 2016 average total cost of generation was less than $34/MWhr. Why do so many claim nuclear is "uncompetitive?" "
"If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?"
3 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2018
Wind and solar energy are far superior...
If wind/solar is so superior, why isn't it used to power/recharge directly the electric vehicles.
"electric cars don't burn fossil fuels"
"Lets go for a walk........"

1 / 5 (1) Oct 06, 2018
The Sun's Energy. The Sun releases an estimated 384.6 yotta watts (3.846×10^26 watts) of energy and.about 1.74x10^17 watts of that strikes the earth. And that's constantly happening free of charge without an expense. Basically seller is free energy to be taken by the people with the best technology.

Nuclear with all of its capabilities and all of the fossil fuels in the world combined couldn't even come close to matching the potential of solar energy on a watts to watts.

It's one reason I'm so surprised that there are folks like Wet Willie who are so pro-nuclear when the math just doesn't add up and the cost of solar is so inexpensive. Even if you added a massive flow battery system for grid-scale energy storage, it's still cheaper then to build a nuclear plant.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 07, 2018
The Sun releases an estimated 384.6 yotta watts (3.846×10^26 watts) of energy and.about 1.74x10^17 watts of that strikes the earth.
And its energy isn't enough to power a solar panel to recharge directly an electric car.

As general rule: the so-called cheap solar/wind is causing the electricity prices to become 5x costlier.
"More wind and solar means higher prices."
"Solar and Wind Lock-In Fossil Fuels -- And That Makes Saving the Climate Harder & More Expensive"
"It's a universal truth: renewables mean higher costs"

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.