While many are looking forward to the partying with alcohol coming New Year's Eve, the most interesting drink has emerged from Ukraine's Chernobyl - Atomik Vodka. A team of British scientists had developed this vodka from grain and water available in the radioactive exclusion zone, as per international reports. The team has stated that alcohol is free of radioactivity and could help the region regain some revenue.
The alcohol produced by a team of scientists headed Prof Jim Smith from the University of Portsmouth is sold through local firm called the Chernobyl Spirit Company. 75% of the profits is reportedly given back to the local community. The scientists have said that while the team had found radioactivity in the grain, grown on a farm in the exclusion zone, distilling the drink helps eliminate the risks.
“But because distilling reduces any impurities in the original grain, the only radioactivity the researchers could detect in the alcohol is natural Carbon-14 at the same level you would expect in any spirit drink,” said a University of Portsmouth spokesperson. He added, "We don’t think the main exclusion zone should be extensively used for agriculture. It is now a wildlife reserve, but there are other areas where people live but agriculture is still banned."
Previously in October, Ukraine threw open the infamous Reactor Four to tourists. This move is reportedly a part of a wider project to turn Chernobyl into an official tourist attraction. Reports state that visitors will need to don protective clothing before entering the control room. Tourists will reportedly be allowed to spend only a few minutes to prevent overexposure to radiation. Chernobyl has become a tourist attraction since May when the HBO miniseries was released.
According to World nuclear Organisation, the April 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine was the product of a flawed Soviet reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel. It was a direct consequence of Cold War isolation and the resulting lack of any safety culture. The accident destroyed the Chernobyl 4 reactor, killing 30 operators and firemen within three months and several further deaths later. While nobody offsite suffered from acute radiation effects, a significant fraction of the thyroid cancers have been diagnosed since the accident in patients who were children at the time - likely to be due to intake of radioactive iodine fallout. The resettlement of areas from which people were relocated is ongoing.