CHORNOBYL IN FOCUS

BBC: Chernobyl vodka: First consumer product made in exclusion zone

With only one bottle produced so far, it will be a while before Atomik martinis are available - but Prof Smith and the team hope to produce 500 bottles this year, selling it initially to the increasing number of tourists who now visit the exclusion zone

Victoria Gill
Friday, 09 August 2019 12:01

"It's the only bottle in existence - I tremble when I pick it up," says Prof Jim Smith, gingerly lifting a bottle of Atomik grain spirit.

The "artisan vodka", made with grain and water from the Chernobyl exclusion zone, is the first consumer product to come from the abandoned area around the damaged nuclear power plant.

The team started the vodka project by growing crops on a farm in the zone.

"Our idea then was [to use that rye grain] to make a spirit," they say.

As well as Prof Smith, who is based at the University of Portsmouth, UK, the team behind the spirit is made up of researchers who have worked in the exclusion zone for many years - studying how the land has recovered since the catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986.

They hope to use profits from selling it to help communities in Ukraine still affected by the economic impact of the disaster.

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