Ukraine seeks Chinese investments in solar farm in Chernobyl area: minister
KIEV - Ukraine is in talks with two Chinese companies to pursue possible investments in building a solar farm near the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukrainian Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak said Tuesday.
"According to preliminary estimates, the companies are ready to invest more than $1 billion into the Chernobyl Solar project over the next two years," Semerak wrote on Facebook, referring to the two Chinese companies GCL and China State Construction Engineering Corporation.
The representatives of the two companies are already working in the Chernobyl area to evaluate the technological and infrastructure capabilities of the site, Semerak said.
Ukraine's Chernobyl Solar project, based on the 2,500 hectares of land 10 km south of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, is expected to generate up to 1,500 GWh of electricity per year.
The nuclear power plant, located some 130 km from Kiev, witnessed one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history on April 26, 1986. The disaster has caused irreparable damage to the local environment and public health.
For decades, the 30-km-radius territory around the plant has been designated as an exclusion zone. Ordinary people have been prohibited from entering it.
As the toxic radiation levels in the area decreased, the Ukrainian government rolled out an initiative to turn the area into an industrial zone.
In June, Semerak said there is a total of 6,000 hectares of land near the Chernobyl power plant that could be used for industrial purposes.