You Can Now Buy Vodka Made Inside The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Atomik is made with grain and water harvested from the reactor's once-forbidden exclusion zone.
A team of scientists from the U.K. and Ukraine came up with the concept in 2015 after studying how the land had recovered since the catastrophic incident in 1986.
They chose to grow rye in one of the relatively less contaminated parts of the exclusion zone before fermenting it and distilling it using water from the deep aquifer in the town of Chernobyl, less than 10 kilometres south of the nuclear plant.
A laboratory at Southampton University then analysed the first bottle of the brew to see if it contained any radionuclides.
It was clean.
"This is no more radioactive than any other vodka," Professor Jim Smith at the University of Portsmouth said.
The plan is to make a few hundred bottles this year.
But the project wasn't just about creating a bottle of booze with a unique selling point, it was also about helping the communities that were affected by the accident.
More than 100,000 people were evacuated from the area surrounding the plant in the wake of the explosion.
Decades later, the exclusion zone is still deemed unsafe for human life.
"The problem for most people who live there is they don't have the proper diet, good health services, jobs or investment," he told the BBC.
He and his fellow distillers are hoping to make a profit from their unique idea, with 75 percent of the money raised to be distributed to the local communities.
The remainder would be reinvested into the business.
“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," Smith said.