Ch­er­nobyl Goes So­lar

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It was the site of the worst nu­clear ac­ci­dent in his­tory, but now Ch­er­nobyl in Ukraine is pro­duc­ing en­ergy again – this time with no threat to the en­vi­ron­ment.

A one-megawatt so­lar en­ergy fa­cil­ity has be­gun op­er­at­ing just 100 me­tres from the ru­ins of the dam­aged re­ac­tor. Its 3800 pho­to­voltaic pan­els can gen­er­ate enough elec­tric­ity to power a small town.

Back in 1986, the re­ac­tor’s melt­down pro­duced a ra­dioac­tive cloud that spread over much of Europe. Around 115,000 peo­ple were evac­u­ated from a 2600-square-kilo­me­tre zone around the site. But now new life is be­ing breathed into the re­gion.

“We want to op­ti­mise the Ch­er­nobyl zone,” says Yev­gen Varya­gin, head of So­lar Ch­er­nobyl. “It shouldn’t be a black hole in the mid­dle of Ukraine.”

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