Chernobyl Artisan Vodka Produced With Radioactive-Free Grain Could Hit Shelves Soon

Vodka from grains grown in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone could spur economic recovery in the region.

liquid being poured out of a bottle
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Vodka from grains grown in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone could spur economic recovery in the region.

Scientists have produced a bottle of vodka distilled from grain grown in the region around Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, The Guardian reported. And what do they call it? “Atomik,” of course.

A team of scientists from the University of Portsmouth used grain grown on a farm in the so-called “Exclusion Zone,” as well as mineral water from a well in the Zone, to produce the distilled spirit. But if you’re concerned that what the scientists actually produced is a bottle of radioactive instant death, think again — distilling grain removes radioactivity, says a spokesperson.

“The only radioactivity the researchers could detect in the alcohol is natural Carbon-14 at the same level you would expect in any spirit drink,” the representative said.

Don’t head to your neighborhood liquor store and start looking around for a bottle of Atomik just yet, though. So far, the idea of selling the product to consumers is just that: an idea. Specifically, it’s an idea that Professor Jim Smith hopes will bring economic recovery to the devastated region. He wants to see a company take up the mantle of producing the spirit and sell it, funneling 75 percent of the proceeds back into the community.

“I think this is the most important bottle of spirits in the world, because it could help the economic recovery of communities living in and around the abandoned areas,” said a university spokesperson.

Not for nothing, Oleg Nasvit, the first deputy head of the State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management, was loathe to call the product “vodka.”

“I’d call this a high-quality moonshine,” Nasvit said, though he did admit that he liked it.

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Over 30 years ago, Reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl power plant exploded, sending a plume of radioactive dust into the skies above Europe. About 350,000 people were evacuated from the area, and for decades the “Exclusion Zone” has been left to the elements. It has been declared uninhabitable for humans for the next 24,000 years.

Miraculously, however, the plant life and wildlife in the region has rebounded, seemingly without ill effects.

As reported previously by The Inquisitr, tourists can visit the Exclusion Zone, either by filling out mountains of paperwork or via quasi-legal tour operators and the exchange of bribes. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky wants to cut back on the paperwork necessary for visitors to legally visit the sight, effectively turning Chernobyl into a tourist attraction.

Interest in the region has spiked ever since the disaster became the subject of the popular HBO series Chernobyl.