On the 26th of April 1986, the world experienced something that has been feared since the invention of nuclear technology: a nuclear disaster. On this day the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former USSR (modern Ukraine) experienced an explosion which released harmful radioactive chemicals into the atmosphere and onto the surrounding earth. The catastrophe affected over 500 000 people and 31 people lost their lives in the nuclear meltdown. Remaining a desolate area, a no-go destination for the last 30 years, there is hope that Chernobyl will have a Green makeover.
The disaster released more radiation than the combination of the atom bombs dropped during the Second World War. The legacy of what happened is seen in the genetic mutations and increased mortality rates that have plagued both the human and the animal population in the area. But now the Ukrainian government has decided it is time to give the area a new legacy, a more positive one, by turning Chernobyl into a renewable energy farm.
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The Ukrainian government is predicting that the plant will take around 6 months to complete, with proposals for funding already being sent investment companies in the USA, the UK, and Canada. Should this plan become a reality, the plant will provide around a third of what the former nuclear plant was capable of producing.
The irony is not lost when you consider that Chernobyl remains one of the world’s biggest environmental disasters of our time, but now something Green is going to be built on the land. Not to mention that this technology is considered to be one of the world’s safest ways to produce energy.
The 6 month proposed time frame to build this solar and biomass energy plant means there is likely to be a strain on the team and on the resources. But there are two big benefits of building on this site and they are the 4GW nuclear reactor that is still in place along with power lines that can still be used.
A few of the investors who have been approached have expressed their interest, but along with a very short time limit, the money to be raised amounts to between $1 and $1.5 billion US dollars. A spokesperson for the project has said that nothing is imminent and that they are keeping an open mind. However, their top priority is to secure the necessary finances. It is also encouraging that the Ukrainian government has said that it will open the exclusion zone should the project get a financial green light. The land cannot be used for anything else, which means that it is cheap and can be used for this exciting solar power project.
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The Ukraine will benefit greatly from having this source of electricity as it will go a long way towards the country being more independent with their access to power.
While the land won’t be habitable in our lifetime, as the plutonium isotope from the spill lasts for more than 24 000 years, the world can look forward to something good coming from an otherwise terrible event.
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Visit the rest of our website: www.greenleafas.co.za
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