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Vodka entirely produced in Chernobyl has entered the international market

Craft vodka, made with grain and water from the Chernobyl exclusion zone, is the first consumer product released in an abandoned area near a damaged nuclear power plant. This product has recently entered the market, but it has not been without incidents. Writes about it with the BBC.

Screenshot: YouTube / Dezeen

In 2019, Professor Jim Smith's team started a vodka project by growing crops on a farm in this abandoned area.

“Then our idea was to use this grain to make alcohol,” the scientists say.

In addition to Professor Smith from the University of Portsmouth (UK), the team consists of researchers who have worked in the exclusion zone for many years studying how the earth recovered from the catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986.

They hope to use the proceeds from the sale to help communities in Ukraine still affected by the economic impact of the disaster.

Is vodka radioactive

“This vodka is no more radioactive than any other vodka,” says Professor Smith. - Every chemist will tell you that when you distill something, impurities remain in the waste. So, we took rye, which was slightly contaminated, and water from the Chernobyl water supply - we distilled it. "

On the subject: 'Look at the end of the world': American impressions of a trip to Chernobyl

“We asked our friends at the University of Southampton, who have an amazing radio-analytical laboratory, to see if they could detect any radioactivity. They could not find anything - everything was below the limit of their detection, ”explains the scientist.

Dr. Gennady Laptev, a scientist at the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute in Kiev, is also one of the founders of the newly formed Chernobyl Spirit company.

He explained that the grain of rye and the resulting alcohol show how some of the land in the exclusion zone can be used productively.

“We don't have to just throw the ground,” he says. "We can use it in different ways, we can produce something that is completely radioactive."

Why scientists made vodka

Partly because a pure distilled product can be made from contaminated grain. But according to Professor Smith, this project aims to go beyond making booze with a unique selling point. He hopes the sale of vodka will help communities in the exclusion zone.

Having worked in Chernobyl since the 1990s, Professor Smith says he was amazed at how the economic conditions for the people in Chernobyl remain very dire as the landscape is gradually rebuilding.

“There are pockets of radiation in the exclusion zone, but for the most part, the level of pollution is lower than in other parts of the world with relatively high natural background radiation,” he says. "The problem for most of the people who live there is that they don't have proper nutrition, good health care, jobs or investments."

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The goal of selling the Chernobyl vodka called Atomic and making a profit, he said, is to give the team the ability to distribute most of the money to local residents. The rest will be reinvested in the business, although Professor Smith hopes to provide the team with income to work part-time on their "social enterprise."

"Because now," says Professor Smith, "after 30 years, in my opinion, the most important thing in this area is economic development, not radioactivity."

What does it taste like

With the help of a team of experts at a cocktail bar in London, he later likened Atomic to homemade vodka.

“It's more of a grain alcohol than vodka because it has a lot more fruity notes - you can still smell the rye,” says Sam Armie.

You can visit the company's website at this link.

Vodka was not allowed into Britain

In March 2021, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confiscated a batch of vodka with apple flavor from 1500 bottles, writes with the BBC.

This was the first batch of the drink that was being prepared for sale, according to press release on the company's website.

Law enforcement officers took this batch from a truck at a distillery in the Carpathians.

Now the manufacturing company is awaiting the results of the investigation, but says that the exact reason for the seizure is unknown - the consignment was going to be sent to the UK.

“It looks like we're being accused of using counterfeit excise stamps,” explains Smith. "But it makes no sense, because the bottles are for the British market and are marked with UK excise stamps."

Laptev noted: "We hope that the issue will be resolved and we can continue to work in an attempt to help people affected by the Chernobyl accident."

Elina Smirnova, a lawyer representing Chernobyl Spirit in a Ukrainian court, said: “This case is a prime example of the violation of Ukrainian legislation by the Kiev prosecutor's office and the SBU. They attacked a foreign company that was trying to create an ethical "white" business in order to primarily help Ukraine. The actions of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies damage Ukraine's reputation as a country open to doing business. We still believe that the truth will prevail. "

Read also on ForumDaily:

'Look at the end of the world': American impressions of a trip to Chernobyl

Child of Chernobyl: the story of an only child born and raised in the exclusion zone

Six radiation disasters in the USSR, about which you have never heard

Time machine: why do stalkers renovate houses in Pripyat

vodka At home Chernobyl
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