The site of the world’s deadliest nuclear meltdown could become home to the largest solar power farm on the planet, though the dangerous levels of radiation permeating the area could hamper the project a bit.
The zone surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine, which melted down in 1986, could be retrofitted, and refashioned as the world’s largest renewable power plant, according to Ukraine’s government.
The radiation levels near the reactor building itself during the meltdown have been estimated to be 5.6 roentgens per second (R/s), equivalent to more than 20,000 roentgens per hour. A lethal dose is around 500 roentgens over the course of five hours, which ultimately killed most of the cleanup crew within weeks, according to recent reports from the British Free Press.
The clean up phase, and the accident itself, ultimately claimed the lives of 31 people, while the long-term effects such as cancers have yet to be determined. United Nations studies, however, show the fallout is responsible for affecting nearly 100,000 people.
Despite the meltdown, the fallout, and the fact that the land has been deemed uninhabitable, Ukraine’s environmental minister still called the country’s environmental regulations the best.
“We already have high-voltage transmission lines that were previously used for the nuclear stations, the land is very cheap and we have many people trained to work at power plants,” Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s environment minister, told reporters. “We have normal European priorities, which means having the best standards with the environment and clean energy ambitions.”
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) indicated in July it would lend money for the renewable energy plan. The EBRD has already provided more than $500 million to construct a steal “sarcophagus” over the top of the hulked out reactor.
“The EBRD may consider participating in the project so long as there are viable investment proposals and all other environmental matters and risks can be addressed to the bank’s satisfaction,” a spokesman told reporters.
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