The Chernobyl nuclear site has the sun to thank for its new production of much more environmentally friendly sustainable power.

The Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine is known for being the scene of the most devastating nuclear accident in history. On April 26, 1986, Chernobyl’s No. 4 core exploded, sending radioactive material and smoke skywards in a deadly cloud that spread over the Soviet Union and parts of Europe. Chernobyl’s nuclear release from the No. 4 explosion is estimated to be 400 times higher than what was experienced from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

With the land around the Chernobyl site still unsuitable for farming or forestry, Ukrainian government officials are welcoming a potential billion-dollar plan to recycle the existing Chernobyl infrastructure and focus on the construction of a solar farms. The region is not completely free of radiation, although the population numbers for animals such as wolves and elk have been on the increase and in some cases are greater than what they were pre-meltdown. However, critics of the solar energy plan are voicing concerns over radiation exposure for workers during the construction of the solar farms, even with the $1.5 billion (U.S.) New Safe Confinement shelter built over Chernobyl’s No. 4 reactor.

Story by Jay Moon