The first batch of Atomic Chernobyl Spirits – an artisan spirit drink made using ingredients from the interior of the Chernobyl exclusion zone – got off to a strong start after it was mysteriously seized by the Ukrainian Secret Services. The Chernobyl Spirit Company announced last week that 1,500 bottles of their Atomic Alcoholic Spirit had been confiscated during an investigation by Ukraine’s security service SBU during a trip to the UK.
The company was founded by Jim Smith, a prominent UK environmental scientist who has been studying the Chernobyl accident since 1990, and his Ukrainian colleagues.
Their primary product is a spirit made from Ukraine’s Palinochka distillery made from apples grown in the Narodichi district – still a regional region most affected by the infamous 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. The reasons for the seizure are not clear.
“It appears they are accusing us of using counterfeit Ukrainian excise stamps, but this is not to say that the bottles are clearly labeled for the UK market and with valid UK excise stamps,” Professor Smith said in a press release. Elena Smirnova, a lawyer representing the Chernobyl Spirit Company, added: “This case is a clear example of the violation of Ukrainian law by the Kiev prosecutor and the SBU. They targeted a foreign company that tried to establish a moral “white” business to help Ukraine first. The actions of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are damaging Ukraine’s reputation as an open country for doing business. We still believe that the truth will win. ”
Prior to the cracking of the shot glasses, the company was not currently selling their Chernobyl-infested vodka and it was not clear when it would be commercially available. The spirit of the grain is actually no more radioactive than any alcoholic beverage. The grain used to make vodka was initially found to have higher levels of strotium-90 just above the alert Ukrainian border, so they discovered that the dispersing process reduces any impurities and reduces radioactive contamination.
The drink is made using mineral water from aquatic water just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) south of the power plant, which is also free from pollution. At the end of the process, the only radioactive material detected in alcohol is a safe level of natural carbon-14 that you can expect in any spirit. The team hopes their products will demonstrate how food can be safely produced in parts of the land around Chernobyl in hopes of reviving the local economy.
Moreover, most of the profits of the organization are again rejected among the local affected community. Professor Smith added, “We are working hard to bring jobs and investment to the Chernobyl-affected region of Ukraine and to establish a business to further support the community by sharing 75% of any of our profits.”