First batch of Chernobyl-made vodka seized by secret service

Ukrainian secret service agents have confiscated the first shipment of a vodka produced inside Chernobyl's radioactive zone.

First batch of Chernobyl-made vodka seized by secret service

Ukrainian secret service agents have confiscated the first shipment of a vodka produced inside Chernobyl's radioactive zone – with manufacturers questioning their motives.

Atomik vodka is made from apples grown in the Narodychi district, part of the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant.

The Chernobyl Spirit Company said 1500 bottles were bound for the UK, but a team sent by Ukraine's secret service (SBU) intercepted their trucks in March.

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The company said the UK deal was a big win for Ukraine's struggling economy, but now production has been placed on hold by authorities.

They said secret service authorities are accusing them of using "forged Ukrainian excise stamps" and that is the reason behind the bottles being held.

"This doesn't make sense since the bottles are for the UK market and are clearly labelled with valid UK excise stamps," TCSC's Professor Jim Smith said.

Ukraine introduced a new stamp excise system last year in an effort to put a stop to counterfeit alcohol production in the country.

Professor Smith's team distilled their first bottle in 2019, using grain from the contaminated site.

While radioactivity in the grain was above the safe limit, the distilling process reduced impurities to an undetectable level.

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Since then, the company have progressed to using apples grown near the nuclear site, using the same distilling process to eliminate radiation.

"We are working hard to set up a business to help bring jobs and investment to the Chernobyl affected areas of Ukraine and to further support the community with 75 per cent of any profits we make," Professor Smith said.

The Chernobyl reactor explosion of 1986 had a devastating and lasting impact on Ukraine and Europe.

It forced a region-wide evacuation as the nuclear reactor spilled radioactive waste into the air.

While the explosion itself only killed about 31 people, millions across Europe were exposed to the fallout with an estimated 200,000 dying from long-term health problems.

Authorities have maintained a 30-kilometre exclusion zone around the site with some regions including Narodychi being repopulated as radiation levels die down.

Nuclear Fall out

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While TCSC say they hope the issue will be resolved and they can get the UK shipment sent out to continue their work trying to help people affected by the devastating social and economic impacts Chernobyl had, their legal team say the actions of the secret service is damaging Ukraine's reputation.

"This case is a clear example of violation of Ukrainian Law by the Kyiv Prosecutors and the SBU," Elina Smirnova, the lawyer representing TCSC 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."

Source : 9 News More   

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'Unusual' storms bring hail, floods and damaging winds

The Bureau of Meteorology warned severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall, possibly leading to flash flooding, were likely.

'Unusual' storms bring hail, floods and damaging winds

Residents along large parts of Australia's east coast are being urged to brace for unseasonably dangerous weather today.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has warned severe thunderstorms likely to slam north-east New South Wales and south-east Queensland with conditions expected to peak today.

"With those severe thunderstorms, we're forecasting damaging winds, large hail, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and there's already some thunderstorms and showers on the radar at the moment," Bureau meteorologist Sarah Scully told Today.

The extreme conditions come on top of a wet week for NSW sparking concerns of flash flooding.

"The soil is saturated so any further rainfall that does fall over that area is likely to have increased surface run off and increased likelihood of flash flooding," Ms Scully said.

Much of the Victorian coast is also in the firing line for severe weather.

Late yesterday, the BOM warned residents from Gippsland in Victoria east to parts of the NSW south coast to brace for heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding.

"Daily rainfall totals of 30mm to 60mm are expected broadly through Gippsland and about the Otways," the bureau warned.

"Higher totals of 50mm to 100mm are likely across areas east of Orbost as well as the ranges east of Mount Baw Baw, with isolated higher totals possible.

"Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Tuesday before gradually easing on Tuesday evening and overnight into Wednesday.

"A flood watch is current for catchments in East Gippsland and parts of West Gippsland."

The warning stretched from roughly Welshpool on the Victorian coast, north past Mount Baw Baw and across to Bega and Eden in NSW. In the west, it included the Otways, from roughly Torquay to Cape Volney.

Ms Scully said mid-May was an "unusual" time of year for severe thunderstorms but high humidity and an upper-level low were driving the unseasonable weather.

"For these really big dynamic thunderstorms, they are usually a summer phenomena ... It's not unprecedented the but it is definitely unusual."

https://twitter.com/BOM_au/status/1391644902770024457

Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino warned storms could form anywhere from southern NSW to central Queensland.

He said some parts could see even more than 100mm and agreed the worst of the weather could be expected in the afternoon in north-east NSW and south-east Queensland.

"Eastern Australia doesn't usually brace for a lot of severe thunderstorms in May, but Tuesday will be a dangerous day of weather in multiple states," he said.

"An upper-level cut-off low-pressure system passing over south-eastern Australia will create an ideal environment for widespread severe weather on Tuesday.

"Moisture-laden air feeding into a surface-based low-pressure system will cause heavy rain in southern and eastern Victoria and far south-east NSW on Monday night and Tuesday."

Ms Scully predicted the system would continue to cause showers and potentially severe storms in parts of Queensland and NSW tomorrow.

"The peak day for those severe thunderstorms will be today. However, they're still expecting there to be storms around tomorrow," she said.

"They will be less widespread and the chances of them being severe is decreased and then they will slowly start to clear and contract out into the Tasman Sea during Thursday."

https://twitter.com/BOM_Qld/status/1391772912487632901

The wild weather was already apparent yesterday as strong winds struck Victoria west of the Great Ocean Road and in the Grampians.

Throughout the day, wind gusts reached 111km/h at Mount William, 94km/h at Cape Nelson and 80km/h at Port Fairy.

In Queensland, a severe thunderstorm rolled in from the Lockyer Valley towards Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast shortly after midnight.

Source : 9 News More   

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