Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A group of scientists announced they have created vodka from ingredients found inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone and verified that it is safe to drink.
Atomik vodka was created by University of Portsmouth scientists from grain and water from inside the exclusion zone as part of a three-year research project into the radioactivity of crops grown inside the 19-mile radius around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, which experienced a reactor explosion in 1986.
"Thirty years on after the accident we found was that in the area the crops were slightly above the very cautious Ukranian limit for consumption. So technically, you can't eat those crops. But we thought, 'Well, we've got some grain, why don't we try making a vodka,'" project leader Jim Smith told CNN.
Smith's team found distilling the vodka reduced the radioactive contamination to an undetectable level, making it safe to drink.
"When you distill something, lots of impurities stay in the waste product, and the final product is more pure. And that's what we found with our vodka -- we fermented the grain then distilled it. We found that we couldn't measure any radioactivity in the product, except natural carbon 14 that you find in any spirit drinks, or any food," Smith said.
He said the newly founded Chernobyl Spirit Company will soon be selling Atomik vodka, with 75 percent of profits going to communities affected by the disaster. The vodka will be the first consumer product from the exclusion zone since the disaster.