Chernobyl Nuke Site in Ukraine is Transformed into Solar Farm

It has been more than 3 decades since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine melted down, causing the worst nuclear accident in history and claiming the lives of thousands over the years. Now, the site has been transformed into a massive solar farm.

The farm stands some 300 feet from the power plant’s remains, which are housed under a massive sarcophagus slid into place in 2016 to contain toxic leaks and radiation. It will be another 24,000 years (the half-life of plutonium) before humans can inhabit the surrounding 1,000 square miles surrounding Chernobyl, but the ghost town has a new purpose.

Source: Gizmodo

Evhen Variagin, the chief executive of Solar Chernobyl LLC, said: [2]

“It’s not just another solar power plant. It’s really hard to underestimate the symbolism of this particular project.”

Launched October 5, Solar Chernobyl can power roughly 2,000 homes. The entire project cost a mere $1.2 million to complete. Land prices offered by the Ukrainian government are a steal, and the government will shell out as much as 50% above the European average for power generated there. [1]

Chernobyl continued to crank out nuclear power until it was officially shut down in 2000. This is the first time power has been produced at the site since the turn of the millennium.

Stage 1 of the project encompasses about 4 acres, but authorities have offered up to 6,000 acres (10 square miles) for solar farms. Eventually, as much as 100 megawatts of solar power could be constructed. The site has connections to the power grid, which could one day transmit up to 4,000 megawatts of power.

Investors have until July 2019 to cash in on the subsidy scheme, at which time parliament will vote on whether or not to scrap it. [2]

Yulia Kovaliv, who heads the Office of the National Investment Council of Ukraine, said:

“Investors expect that in the renewable energy sector, facilities launched before 2019 will operate on the current (beneficial) system of green tariffs. And that is why want to buy ready-to-build projects in order to complete construction before that time.”

Sources:

[1] Fortune

[2] Reuters (featured image source) Solar panels are seen through barbed wire at a solar power plant built on the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl, Ukraine October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Gizmodo

Fukushima Radiation Contaminated EVERYONE on Earth – But How Much?

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan was hit by first a massive earthquake, then a devastating tsunami, on March 11, 2011. It was immediately recognized as one of the worst nuclear accidents in world history, alongside Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. According to a team of scientists, the radiation spewed by the crippled plant affected every person on earth. But don’t panic – you got only about a single X-ray’s worth. [1]

To be sure, the less radiation you have over your lifetime, the better. There is no “good” nuclear radiation. Still, considering how touch-and-go the situation has been and continues to be (fire crews finally extinguished a 12-days-long wildfire in Fukushima’s no-go zone, sparking fresh radiation fears), you and I are pretty fortunate to have gotten away with so little damage.

According to the results of a global survey of the disaster’s effects, conducted by a team of scientists from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, the average person received about 0.5 millisieverts of radiation from the accident. Those who lived in the immediate vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi plant received about 1 to 5 millisieverts. Radiation sickness develops at approximately 1,000 millisieverts. [2]

Thousands upon thousands of people died as a result of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami; but, shockingly, no one died as a direct result of the explosion in Reactor No. 1 and meltdown that occurred in a total of three of the plant’s reactors.

The main source of the radiation was the radioactive element cesium-137.

Nikolas Evangeliou, a member of the research team, said:

“More than 80 per cent of the radiation was deposited in the ocean and poles, so I think the global population got the least exposure. What I found was that we got one extra S-ray each.” [2]

On average, Americans get about 6.2 millisieverts per year, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Committee. The majority of that radiation comes from natural background radiation, or naturally occurring sources such as radon in the air and in cosmic rays. The rest comes from medical procedures, industrial sources, and other man-made sources. [1]

There is debate as to whether there has been a Fukushima-related increase in cases of thyroid cancer. It’s possible many of those cases are the result of over-diagnosis spurred by fears in the aftermath of the crisis.

It’s also possible that authorities are covering up the truth. The 3.11 Children’s Fund for Thyroid Cancer, a support group for children with thyroid cancer, discovered after auditing medical bills that a 4-year-old underwent thyroid surgery at a state-run university. The school claimed it had never treated anyone under 5 for thyroid cancer.

The damage done to plants and other animals is more visible to the naked eye, however. Evangeliou says increased levels of radiation around Fukushima have been linked to declines in bird populations there between 2011 and 2014. [2]

He warns:

“There have also been reports of declines in other species such as insects and some mammals.” [2]

Sources:

[1] Raw Story

[2] New Scientist


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