Scientists have come up with a vodka distilled from rye grown in the exclusion zone near the site of Chernobyl’s nuclear plant.

A special “artisan vodka” has been created using grain and water from the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Atomik grain spirit is the first product to come from the abandoned area around the damaged nuclear power plant. A specialist team, made up of researches who have worked in the exclusion zone, came up with the project as a way of creating profits to help communities in Ukraine affected by the disaster.

“This is no more radioactive than any other vodka,” Professor Jim Smith said.”Any chemist will tell you, when you distill something, impurities stay in the waste product.”So we took rye that was slightly contaminated and water from the Chernobyl aquifer and we distilled it“.

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

There is only one bottle of the Atomik vodka currently available, however, the team is hoping to produce 500 this year, with the aim of selling it to tourists who now visit the exclusion zone.

Last April marked the 33rd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. After the 1986 explosion, which released untold amounts of radioactive material across the continent, a 1,000-square-mile exclusion zone around the Chernobyl plant was established to mark the region deemed too radioactive for habitation. Consequently, thousands were evacuated and what was once a functional satellite city became a ghost town. 

The vodka is a product of the Chernobyl Spirit Company.

The business has so far developed one finished bottle which is by all accounts, safe to drink.

“It’s the only bottle in existence,” said Smith. “I tremble when I pick it up.”