In 1986, the small Ukrainian town of Chernobyl was rocked with one of the worst nuclear disasters ever. Radioactive material rained down, and the entire city was left in shambles. An unthinkably large metal dome was placed over the failed nuclear reactor site in 2016, which has helped to contain some of the retro radioactivity. Now completely uninhabited, there are some who are looking to give the lifeless town a breath of fresh air. Well, sort of.
Some experts estimate that the 1986 disaster contaminated up to 75% of Europe. While these numbers are unofficial, and at often disputed, it’s agreed that the damage was not solely contained to the reactor site. There was so much damage in Chernobyl that humans will likely not be able to safely inhabit the town again for at least another 24,000 years.
If you were to visit Chernobyl today, you’d find nothing more than a radioactive pile of rubble mixed in with eerie scenery and lifeless ambiance. Solar Chernobyl, a Ukrainian-German led company, hopes to turn the desolate site into the Ukraine’s first solar plant. During the rebuild of the site in 2016, some 3,800 solar panels were installed at the plant with the hopes of generating enough energy to start powering many of the local cities and towns.
Initial estimations suggest that the plant will be able to power a medium-sized Ukrainian village, which consists of around 2,000 homes. But, they have big plans to scale the project quickly and efficiently, without risking another potential disaster. Solar Chernobyl spend around $1.5 million on the project so far, and have budgeted that the solar plant will pay for itself in as little as seven years.
Many believe that converting the site to a functioning solar plant is just one of many projects imagined for the future of the site. Of course, the biggest elephant in the room is to avoid any future problems at the site, especially one as significant as the 1986 disaster. While the town may never be as thriving as it once was, there is still a sense of hope that future generations can turn the abandoned rubble into something amazing.