Nuclear ‘Signature’ Found in California Wine
Researchers have found the 'signature' of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in some California wine.A report from the MIT Technology review says traces of cesium-137 are present in California-made wines (Cabernet Sauvignon) from the period just after the Fukushima incident.
In March, 2011. An earthquake triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The disaster resulted in an atmospheric increase in cesium-137, a radioactive byproduct of the meltdown.
In 2001, French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered that he could use the presence of cesium-137 to date wines without opening the bottle.
As the study notes, "dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium-137 to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made." This made the technique useful in detecting wine fraud.
Last year, Dr. Hubert and his team decided to check for presence of the radioactive residue in California win.
Testing some vintage Cabernet Sauvignon from 2009 to 2012, they found a spike in cesium-137 in the wine made after the time of the Fukushima mishap.
The cesium levels are barely detectable by conventional means. Still, in our nuclear age, the test results provide a grim warning of the long-terms effects of nuclear disasters.
[Source: MIT Technology Review]