Unique Drink Growing out of Chernobyl Exclusion Zone?
For most, the name Chernobyl conjures up one thought: nuclear disaster. It’s hard to believe the deadly explosion that occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine happened more than 30 years ago. The popular docudrama that aired on HBO recently put the incident back in the spotlight. But what’s even harder to believe now is that a local distillery enterprise is aiming to bring the world forbidden fruit … err, in this case, artisan vodka made with ingredients grown and harvested from deep within the infamous exclusion zone.
The Chernobyl Spirit Company recently unveiled a truly unique concoction: Atomik. Scanning through the product’s website, it appears the science behind the project is willing to dig deep where many not dare. According to the company, a team of researchers and consultants from the Ukraine and U.K. have been studying and analyzing the transfer of radioactivity to crops both in the main exclusion zone and in the Narodychi District, which is within what’s called the Zone of Obligatory Resettlement, “where land can’t officially be used for agriculture, but people still live.”
So, what have the scientists uncovered? An excerpt from The Chernobyl Spirit Company’s site says: “The research shows that in many areas, land could now be used to produce crops, which are safe to eat. As every chemist knows, distillation of fermented grain leaves many heavier elements in the waste product, so the distillate alcohol is more radioactively ‘pure’ than the original grain. We have used distillation to reduce radioactivity in the grain even further to make a product from Chernobyl, which we hope people will want to consume.”
Plain and simple, the plant science experiment is bearing fruit – so far. “When we made Atomik grain spirit from the grain, we could find no Chernobyl-derived radioactivity in the distilled alcohol.” The Chernobyl Spirit Company goes on to note the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute as well as the University of Southampton GAU-Radioanalytical labs also could find no trace of radioactivity in Atomik.
The company says it will continue to probe further for absolute purity, but cautions, “nothing on Earth is completely free of radioactivity.”
This taste of novel news coming from halfway around the world goes to show the power of science. The pendulum swings mighty both ways. In Chernobyl today, opportunity is sprouting (literally) out of what has been long abandoned, but obviously not forgotten.
As of this posting, The Chernobyl Spirit Company claims to have produced only one experimental bottle of Atomik. Once production mode on the ambitious and noble project ramps up, the company says it will donate at least 75% of profits from sales of the specialty beverage to help support communities in the affected areas and local wildlife conservation.