London (AFP)

A team of British researchers has contributed to the production of a radioactive vodka called "ATOMIK" from crops near the Chernobyl site (Ukraine), contaminated by the accident at the 1986 nuclear power plant, said Thursday. Portsmouth University.

"This is the world's largest bottle of alcohol because it could help communities living in and around disaster areas regain their footing," Jim Smith said in a statement.

The team found radioactivity in the cereals but after the distillation process, the only radioactivity still present was 14 "carbon at the same level as in any other strong alcohol," the statement said.

The English team worked with Ukrainian colleagues to produce the drink.

After the accident, a 30 kilometer exclusion zone was established around the plant. Farming is still prohibited in this area and surrounding areas, except for very small scale crops.

"Thousands of people are still living in the forced relocation area where farmland and investment remain banned," Smith said.

Scientists are creating a social enterprise, the Chernobyl Liquor Corporation, and hope to start small scale production this year. Three quarters of the profits will go to the local community.

The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant killed 30 people on April 26, 1986, and hundreds of others related to the accident. The exact balance sheet remains disputed.

The Soviet authorities first tried to cover and minimize the disaster. In the end, 350,000 people had been evacuated from the exclusion zone. Scientists estimate that it will still be radioactive for some 24,000 years.

© 2019 AFP