China to build solar plant within Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine

Two Chinese firms are planning to build a solar power plant in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor an area off limits since a devastating explosion contaminated the entire region with radiation in 1986.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was established by the former USSR military soon after the accident in 1986. The exclusion zone was initially an area within a 30 kilometer radius of the accident. It is now an area of about 2,600 square km (1,000 square miles) around the power plant. There are still about 200 people who have not moved from the zone and approximately 3,000 people work in the area. There is also a considerable tourist business as shown on the appended video. Although there is a general decrease in the number and types of wildlife as one moves into more radioactive areas some species have reappeared that were long gone from the area. The area is now in the Ukraine.
Two Chinese companies GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI) a subsidiary the larger Golden Concord Holdings Ltd. (GCL Group) will cooperate with the China National Complete Engineering Corp (CCEC). Construction is slated to start next year. Shu Hua, chair of the GCL-SI said: "There will be remarkable social benefits and economic ones as we try to renovate the once damaged area with green and renewable energy." He also said that the one gigawatt plant was part of his company's strategy of building an international presence. CCEC, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Machinery Industry Corp., will be in charge of the project overall and GCL-SI will provide and install the solar panels. The cost of the project was not announced, nor the exact location of the plant within the exclusion zone. Ostap Semerak, the Minister of the Environment for the Ukraine said: “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.”
A project manager said: "Ukraine has passed a law allowing the site to be developed for agriculture and other things, so that means (the radiation) is under control." China itself is the world's largest solar power generator. By the end of 2015 it had 43 gigawatts of solar capacity. It is also the number world manufacturer of solar power components producing 72 percent of global production.


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