A unique "artisan vodka" made from grains and water sourced within the Chernobyl exclusion zone is the first consumer-safe product to come out of the disaster zone.

The abandoned area surrounding the Chernobyl power plant draws in plenty of tourists but not much comes out of the wasteland.

At least, in terms of produce.

However a team of researchers have started a company to create a small-batch spirit entirely from crops found within the contaminated exclusion zone.

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The name of the vodka? "Atomik."

Export: Chernobyl's Atomik Vodka would be the first thing to leave the town since it was abandoned in 1986. Photo / Getty Images
Export: Chernobyl's Atomik Vodka would be the first thing to leave the town since it was abandoned in 1986. Photo / Getty Images

Since the nuclear reactor fire in 1986 that left the area badly irradiated with deadly levels of background radiation. Many crops and root vegetables are still deemed poisonous due to radioactive isotopes.

However, the team of researchers have been studying the effects of the radiation within the zone came up with the idea as a small social enterprise. The Atomik vodka company is currently very limited in size, but could soon be making 500 bottles.

They hope to sell it to tourists and eventually put proceeds towards economic recovery of those affected by the disaster 30 years ago.

Spirit of 86: People Commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl in Ukraine with a drink of Vodka. Photo / Getty Images
Spirit of 86: People Commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl in Ukraine with a drink of Vodka. Photo / Getty Images

Prof Smith, of the University of Portsmouth who helped develop the post-apocalyptic tipple, assures tourists that it is perfectly safe to drink.

"This is no more radioactive than any other vodka," Prof Smith told the BBC, during a sampling of the world's first bottle.

"Any chemist will tell you, when you distil 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.

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"They couldn't find anything - everything was below their limit of detection."

The drink is raising spirits in the exclusion zone about the possible recovery and reclamation of land that was thought to be unproductive for centuries.

"We don't have to just abandon the land," said Dr Gennady Laptev, a Ukrainian chemist turned distiller.

"We can use it in diverse ways and we can produce something that will be totally clean from the radioactivity."

Why vodka?

Vodka is a national drink and cultural currency within the former Soviet Bloc countries. It seemed like the ideal first product to capture the spirit of a new Chernobyl.

However in Russia the drink has a darker connection to radiation poisoning.

Vodka was also a folk cure administered to Russians suffering from radiation poisoning.

This myth came into popular culture in 1961 when the reactor of the K-19 nuclear submarine overheated near Greenland.

Captain Zateyev of the stricken nuclear submarine, recorded dosing up the crew "100-gram servings of liquor" to combat radiation poisoning in his crew.

This rumour of the properties were so ingrained that in 1986, following the Chernobyl reactor fire, Ukrainians began taking vodka as a treatment for radiation.

The Unfortunately the vodka was probably more effective as a placebo.

Disinfectant: Tourists are being drawn to the exclusion zone to taste the spirit. Photo / Getty Images
Disinfectant: Tourists are being drawn to the exclusion zone to taste the spirit. Photo / Getty Images

First Deputy Health Minister Oleg Shchepin had to dispel the dangerous rumours of vodka as a miracle cure, saying the "gossip about liquor is the purest fantasy".

"The so-called medical qualities of liquor have no basis in scientific data. But the harm of alcohol under the influence of radiation is well known," he told a reporter from the LA Times in 1986, weeks after the accident.

However the most important factor producing vodka as a high proof spirit is its purity from contamination.

While it may not cure you, it contains no radioactivity.

Through the distilling process contaminated grain can be used to produce a spirit that is safe to drink.

Although there is just one precious bottle of the spirit, there are aims to produce 500 bottles this year. However there is currently one place you will be able to taste the non-radioactive Atomik vodka, in the exclusion zone in Chernobyl.