04:13 GMT +312 November 2019
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    Chernobyl Exclusion Area

    WHY is Spain Spending Over €1Mln on Power Plant in Chernobyl?

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    The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster is one of the worst man-made disasters in history, contaminating thousands of square kilometres of territory across Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, and leading to the creation of a 30 square kilometre exclusion zone around the most heavily affected area.

    Spain will allocate over a million euros to the construction of a ground-based solar power plant in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, a Ministry of Environment spokesman told Sputnik.

    "Recently, working within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, [Spain and Ukraine] arrived at an agreement under which Spain undertakes to allocate funds for projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Angel Sanchez, deputy director of emissions trading at Spain's Climate Change Office, said.

    The official confirmed Spain has committed over a million euros to the Chernobyl power plant project, with the construction start date yet to be determined.

    The Gomel Region -- part of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exclusion zone
    © Sputnik / Andrei Aleksandrov
    Spain's investment in the Chernobyl power plant falls under developed countries' broader commitment to participate in joint projects aimed at environmental protection in developing countries. 

    Ukraine's Ministry of Natural Resources and officials in charge of the exclusion zone proposed the allocation of land for the creation of renewable energy facilities at Chernobyl in late 2016. Over 60 companies from the US, China, Germany, France, Denmark, Belarus and Ukraine expressed interest.

    In late 2018, a solar plant was opened in the ghost town of Pripyat on the territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The plant has an annual capacity of 1024 MWh per year (1 megawatt is capable of powering about 1,000 typical homes). Chernobyl is seen as an ideal territory for solar farms, given the generous availability of land, the existence of power transmission lines nearby, and the energy's low cost per megawatt.

    Together with the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Chernobyl is one of the worst nuclear power disasters in human history. In the aftermath of the disaster, the exclusion zone developed into one of Europe's largest de facto wilderness preserves, becoming home to herds of wild boar, wolves, elk, deer, and endangered European Bison.

    The Chernobyl catastrophe took place on the night of April 25, 1986, and was caused by an experiment simulating a power blackout run by the system's deputy director which blatantly violated multiple safety regulations, resulting in an uncontrolled reaction leading to a steam explosion and resultant graphite fire. The disaster killed as many as 4,000 people, mostly due to cancer, according to World Health Organisation figures, and contaminated 50,000 square kilometres of land across Ukraine and up to 20 percent of neighbouring Belarus's land area.


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