Booze from radioactive Chernobyl apples seized by Ukraine on journey to UK

Bottles of vodka made from radioactive apples grown near Chernobyl have been seized by Ukrainian officials.

Scientists and distillers created the booze, called ‘Atomik’, using ingredients from the nuclear power plant’s still-radioactive exclusion zone.

The drink would have been the first consumer product from the Chernobyl region to hit shelves since the infamous 1986 nuclear meltdown.

But authorities grabbed the first batch of 1,500 bottles, which were due to be delivered to the UK, after Ukraine's secret service carried out an investigation.

They took the liquor from a truck at a distillery in the Carpathian Mountains to the Kyiv Prosecutor's office.

The Chernobyl Spirit Company, which created it, vowed 75% of its profits from the alcohol will go to helping bring jobs and investment to Chernobyl affected areas.

Company founder Jim Smith, a professor at the University of Portsmouth, said: “It seems that they are accusing us of using forged Ukrainian excise stamps, but this doesn’t make sense since the bottles are for the UK market and are clearly labelled with valid UK excise stamps”.

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Co-owner Dr Gennady Laptev, a Chernobyl “liquidator” who worked there after the meltdown, said: “We hope this issue can be resolved so that we can continue our work trying to help people affected by the devastating social and economic impacts Chernobyl had on communities”.

The alcohol, which was launched two years ago, is made from apples grown in the Narodychi District of Ukraine, which lies on the edge of the exclusion zone.

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It was heavily polluted by radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster, according to LiveScience.

The scientists had hoped to prove some products made near the zone can be safe to consume.

They said all traces of radiation were removed from Atomik after the distilling process.

This made it no more dangerous than other spirits available in shops, they had argued.

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At first, they planned to create a rye-based spirit, but changed it to an apple-based product.

Elina Smirnova, the lawyer representing the business, said it was “a clear example of violation of Ukrainian law” by prosecutors and spooks.

They have targeted a foreign company which has tried to establish a business to “first of all help Ukraine”, she added in a statement.

She said: “The actions of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are damaging the reputation of Ukraine as an open country for doing business.

“We still believe that the truth will win.”

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