Area around Chernobyl plant to become a nuclear dump

Kyodo

A heavily contaminated area within a 10-kilometer radius of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine will be used to store nuclear waste materials, the chief of a state agency managing the wider exclusion zone said in an interview.

“People cannot live in the land seriously contaminated for another 500 years, so we are planning to make it into an industrial complex,” said Vitalii Petruk, the head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management. The zone is 30-km radius from the site of the 1986 nuclear accident — the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

“We are thinking of making land that is less contaminated a buffer zone to protect a residential area from radioactive materials,” he said.

Petruk said the agency does not plan to narrow down the exclusion zone because there is no privately owned land within the area and few people are wishing to return, unlike Fukushima, home to the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan.

The complex will be used to store and process nuclear waste including spent nuclear fuel sent from power plants in Ukraine, he said.

“We are considering building a facility for alternative energy such as solar panels” so as to utilize the remaining electricity infrastructure including power grids for the Chernobyl nuclear power plant there, he added.

Petruk said the agency also wants to invite foreign companies to the complex. “We will ensure the maximum safety” to help their activities in the complex, he said.

As for the future dismantlement of the Chernobyl plant, Petruk said his country has been in talks with France for some two years about possible cooperation and it also wants to consider talks with Japan.

  • GRLCowan

    We are considering building a facility for alternative energy such as solar panels so as to utilize the remaining electricity infrastructure including power grids for the Chernobyl nuclear power plant …

    Putting as much electricity into that grid as the power plant did in its heyday would require more than a 10-km-radius circle to be silicon-dark, but much less than a 30-km-radius circle, unless seasonal storage, plus additional square kilometrage of PV cells to overcome storage losses, were also built there (so that the grid could be fed equally in December and January as in high summer).

    That would be a very substantial environmental impact, much worse than the very faded remains of the 1986 radioactivity dispersal.

  • jimhopf

    The following statement:

    “People cannot live in the land seriously contaminated for another 500 years…”
    is pure BS; a fabricated notion based on unjustifiably low public dose limits, that are often lower than natural background levels that occur many places on earth. People can live there now, and would probably not experience any measurable health effects. There are many places that are actually more unhealthy to live in than those areas around Chernobyl, most notably the developing world’s heavily polluted cities (Beijing being the most notable example). And yet, hundreds of millions of people are allowed to live in those cities. “Uninhabitable” is an awfully strong word…

    That said, this article offers an interesting, perhaps hopeful idea. If mankind is going to insist on abandoning this area, and no people live there, perhaps it could serve as a storage/disposal site for all the world’s nuclear waste. It may be a palatable political solution to what has always been an intractable political (vs. technical) problem, where NIMBYism blocks all proposals, regardless of merit.

    Ukraine could probably use the money, and they could charge a hefty fee to take everyone’s waste. And, as they say in the article, the govt. is in complete control of this land, so no private or local interests would get in the way.

  • Philosopher

    I think it’s a good use of the space.