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Chernobyl Vodka—No Kidding

In the please-tell-me-it’s-not-true department comes this: a new “artisan vodka” is being made in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s “Exclusion Zone,” according to The Smithsonian. The Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in the Ukraine exploded in 1986, spewing radioactivity for 1,000 miles in every direction. Scientists estimate that the site will remain unsafe for the next 24,000 years. The vodka—named ATOMIK—is made from radioactive grains and underground mineral water from an area where it is now forbidden to farm. The scientists who made the vodka hypothesized that a distilled spirit would be safe to drink, even when made from a radioactive crop. That’s because during distillation, heavy elements (like strontium-90) are left behind in the waste, leaving the distillate itself pure. When tested, Atomik showed no radioactive elements. The devastated area around Chernobyl has, of course, become a vast social and economic wasteland. The vodka is considered the first step on the road to economic recovery.

Would you drink a spirit from this, ahem, terroir?

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