'Artisan vodka' 1st consumer product made in Chernobyl

Kiev, Aug 8 (IANS) An "artisan vodka", made with grain and water from the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine, is the first consumer product to come from the abandoned area around the damaged nuclear power plant.

A team, made up of researchers who have worked in the exclusion zone for many years - studying how the land has recovered since the catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986, started the Atomik grain spirit project by growing crops on a farm in the zone, the BBC reported on Thursday.

"Our idea then was (to use that rye grain) to make a spirit," they said.

The team hopes to use profits from selling it to help communities in Ukraine still affected by the economic impact of the disaster.

Gennady Laptev, a scientist based at the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute in Kiev and also a founding member of the newly created Chernobyl Spirit Company, that the rye grain and the resulting spirit show how some of the land could be used productively.

"We don't have to just abandon the land," he said. "We can use it in diverse ways and we can produce something that will be totally clean from the radioactivity."

With only one bottle produced so far, it will be a while before Atomik martinis are available - but the team hope to produce 500 bottles this year, selling it initially to the increasing number of tourists who now visit the exclusion zone.

--IANS

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