I saw this in the news today, an article about people picking radioactive wild berries in and near the Chernobyl exclusion zone. What I found more interesting though was that the new containment structure over the failed reactor has been put into place. Also, it appears that China has plans to put a solar power plant inside the exclusion zone around the reactor.
A nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded in 1986, spewing tons of radioactive material into the air, and contaminating an area of thousands of miles around the reactor, spanning parts of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. On Tuesday, engineers placed a 32,000-ton arch over the site in an attempt to contain any other radioactive material that might make its way out.
The arch, known as the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement, is considered a feat of engineering, in part because safety demanded that the massive structure be built away from the site and then moved into place.
And two Chinese companies, Golden Concord and China National Complete Engineering, are reportedly making investments in the zone: They are planning to build a solar farm.
I'm generally not a fan of solar power but if the area is unfit for habitation, farming, hunting, and has existing infrastructure for electrical power transmission then I can't be too opposed to it. If the Chinese think that they can make money selling electricity from solar power out there then I say let them try.
Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.