Alcohol made from radioactive Chernobyl apples seized by Ukrainian government

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In 2019, a group of scientists and distillers decided to create a bold new type of alcohol: the Atomik, an artisanal alcoholic spirit made from ingredients grown in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant still radioactive exclusion zone. (The alcohol itself was not radioactive after the distillation process, Previously reported live science).

Now the first batch of Atomik is finally finished – and all 1,500 bottles of it were seized by Ukrainian secret service agents for unknown reasons, according to one. declaration from Atomik’s maker, The Chernobyl Spirit Company.

“It seems they are accusing us of using fake Ukrainian excise stamps, but that doesn’t make sense since the bottles are destined for the UK market and are clearly labeled with valid UK excise stamps,” Jim Smith, founder of the company and a professor at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, said in the statement.

Related: 5 weird things you didn’t know about Chernobyl

Elina Smirnova, a lawyer representing the company, added that the seizure was a “clear violation” of Ukrainian law. If Atomik hits the shelves, it will be the Chernobyl region’s first consumer product since the infamous 1986 collapse, the company said.

A prototype Atomik bottle. (Image credit: University of Portsmouth)

Shortly after the nuclear disaster, authorities ruled the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – the 2,600 square kilometer area surrounding the damaged power plant – uninhabitable by humans for 24,000 years. However, plants and animals are now thriving in the region, as is tourism. According to local tourism officials, Chernobyl receives more than 60,000 visitors a year, with a peak in visits after the May 2019 debut of HBO’s “Chernobyl” miniseries.

Atomik is made from apples grown in the Ukrainian district of Narodychi, located on the edge of the exclusion zone and heavily polluted by fallout from the collapse. This region still has a population of nearly 10,000 people, according to Ukraine State Statistics Service, and must adhere to strict agricultural restrictions.

With Atomik, Smith and his colleagues hope to prove that some products made near the exclusion zone may be safe for consumption, according to the company’s website. Several years ago, the Atomik team tested the rye crops in the exclusion zone for radiation and found that the grains were indeed contaminated. However, Smith said, all traces of radiation have been removed during the distillation process, making Atomik no more dangerous than other commercially available spirits.

Since then, the founders have changed their recipe from one drink made with rye to one made with apple – but, according to Smith, the distillation process still makes the final product completely. radiation-free. If Atomik goes to liquor stores, 75% of the company’s profits will be used “to help create jobs and investment in Chernobyl affected areas in Ukraine and to further support the community,” the statement said. of the company.

In the meantime, would you like to try a bottle of wine exposed to cosmic radiation aboard a space station for 14 months? It will only cost you a million dollars.

Originally posted on Live Science.


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