A team of international scientists has produced a bottle of moonshine distilled from rye and water from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and it won’t kill you. “Atomik” is the result of a three-year research project led by Dr. James Smith of the University of Portsmouth to evaluate grains planted within the 30-kilometer “Dead Zone” for radionuclides. In 1986, following the explosion of one of the city’s nuclear reactors, the area was deemed uninhabitable by humans for 24,000 years. With Atomik, Dr. Smith’s team aims to prove it’s not that bad.

According to Smith, radiation wasn’t the worst thing to happen to Chernobyl residents: The greatest radioactive harm came and went within weeks while up to 300,000 people were evacuated. Rather, as a 2005 report from the UN agrees, “the stigma associated with Chernobyl caused marketing problems and led to falling revenues” for the local economy. High unemployment and poverty stemming from this stigma still hamstring the communities around Chernobyl.

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