The Chernobyl exclusion zone, an area of land 30km2 in total, has been judged as an ideal location for a large solar photovoltaic project.

China-based GCL System Integration Technology Co. Ltd. (GCL-SI), and state-owned National Machinery Industry Corp (CCEC) are to develop the 1 GW project 30 years after the nuclear reactor meltdown at the same site in Ukraine.
Chernobyl nuclear reactor
Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s minister of environment and natural resources, said, “Its cheap land and abundant sunlight constitute a solid foundation for the project. In addition, the remaining electric transmission facilities are ready for reuse.”

CCEC will serve as the general contractor and manage the overall project, while GCL-SI will offer consultancy and planning services, as well as solar equipment to the project. According to GCL-SI, construction of the solar plant is expected to begin in 2017.

“There will be remarkable social benefits and economical ones as we try to renovate the once-damaged area with green and renewable energy. We are glad that we are making joint efforts with Ukraine to rebuild the community for the local people,” said Shu Hua, chairman of GCL-SI, who notes the project is part of the Chinese company’s global expansion.

Reuters reports that the old reactor at Chernobyl is set to be covered by a steel arch in 2017 and the land surrounding is now considered safe enough for agricultural use.