California wines contain Fukushima radiation, and it’s not a bad thing

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 are present in California-made wines Cabernet Sauvignon from the period just after the Fukushima incident. In March, An earthquake triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The disaster resulted in an atmospheric increase in cesium, a radioactive byproduct of the meltdown. In , French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered that he could use the presence of cesium to date wines without opening the bottle. As the study notes, “dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made.

Radiocarbon and 137Cs dating of wines.

Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball. Atmospheric tests ended in , when China finished its program, but the process has left a long-lasting nuclear signature on the planet. One of the most obvious signatures is cesium, a radioactive by-product of the fission of uranium After release into the atmosphere, cesium was swept around the world and found its way into the food supply in trace quantities.

Such an addition is rarely welcomed.

Radioactive cesium has been detectable in wines for decades. “This technique allows dating for vintage wines between and

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Nobody believes everything they read. That statement may be truer now than in previous years. Scientific research, even if reviewed by the most respected Academics, may, in fact be fraudulent. He and his team had to retract claims published in Science about embryonic stem cell research. The claims had been carefully peer-reviewed but nevertheless the research was later proven to be fraudulent and subsequently withdrawn.

The atomic bomb explosion. Consequently a bottle of wine dated before or after this time by testing for Cs. Another well-known case of wine fraud involving Koch was when he sued Rudy Kurniawan who had put a quantity of grand cru Clos Saint-Denise and Laurent Ponsot on the market. However the wines in question had not been bottled until , so thereby hangs a tail!

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Some wealthy wine aficionados are comfortable spending millions on supposedly rare vintages. Here are some cases to illustrate the problem and ways to investigate the fraud. The world of rare and expensive wine collecting is populated with high rollers who enjoy the one-upmanship that private sales or public auction purchases often bring. They enjoy the limelight of owning one or several bottles of an extremely rare vintage that renowned wine experts have authenticated.

A fine winery produces a limited number of cases of a particular excellent vintage and connoisseurs desperately want it. That vintage is ripe so to speak for counterfeit versions.

Scientists tested wines from multiple vintages and found cesium he could date unopened bottles of wine by testing them for cesium

Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball. Atmospheric tests ended in , when China finished its program, but the process has left a long-lasting nuclear signature on the planet.

One of the most obvious signatures is cesium, a radioactive by-product of the fission of uranium After release into the atmosphere, cesium was swept around the world and found its way into the food supply in trace quantities. Such an addition is rarely welcomed. But in , the French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered that he could use this signature to date wines without opening the bottles.

The technique immediately became a useful weapon in the fight against wine fraud—labeling young wines as older vintages to inflate their price. Such fraud can be spotted by various types of chemical and isotope analysis—but only after the wine has been opened, which destroys its value. Cesium, on the other hand, allows noninvasive testing because it is radioactive. It produces distinctive gamma rays in proportion to the amount of isotope present.

Dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made. That quickly reveals any fraud.

How Radioactive Dating Is Used to Authenticate Wine

As long as rich men are willing to pay exorbitant amounts for old, fermented juice, there will be schemers willing to dupe them out of their money. But if you’re dropping a cool half million on four bottles of wine supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson true story , you want to make sure you have the real thing, right? You can, thanks in part to the atomic bomb. The art of wine forgery isn’t really about creating an authentic-tasting wine; the bottle is equally important.

Whether by tampering with the bottle or the liquid inside, wine fraudsters have is an expert in dating objects by detecting levels of cesium, a radioactive.

When reactors exploded and melted down at the Fukushima nuclear power complex in March , they launched radioactivity from their ruined cores into the unprotected environment. Some of this toxic radioactivity was in the form of hot particles radioactive microparticles that congealed and became airborne by attaching to dusts and traveling great distances. However, the Fukushima disaster is only the most recent example of atomic power and nuclear weapons sites creating and spreading these microparticles.

Prior occurrences include various U. While government and industry cover up this hazard, community volunteer citizen science efforts — collaborations between scientists and community volunteers — are tracking the problem to raise awareness of its tremendous danger in Japan and across the globe. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster began, one highly radioactive specimen, a particle small enough to inhale or ingest, was found in a private home where it should not have been, hundreds of miles from its source, in a vacuum cleaner bag containing simple house dust.

The Japanese nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made at the time. Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball.

Nuclear ‘Signature’ Found in California Wine

First there was the earthquake and the tsunami. Then the three meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March of , followed by a radioactive cloud that made its way across the Pacific Ocean to grapes growing in California. Now scientists are asking: do the wines that were eventually made from those grapes, including ones that were grown in Napa, today carry radioactive traces of the tragedy?

Since the presence of cesium prior to is impossible (it’s a For a more accurate detection, the researchers destroyed the wines.

In , French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered a new way to date wine. In the s, countries like the U. This material has left a significant amount of nuclear waste across the world, most notably Cesium, which has found its way into foods. Hubert realized that traces of Cesium could date wine accurately without opening it, thus preventing wine fraud. Detecting wine with no Cesium would necessarily mean that was made after , the year of the last nuclear test. However, the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown released a new wave of radioactive residue into the atmosphere.

Hubert and his colleagues conducted a special test to detect whether the disaster had any effect on Californian wine made between and The test involved opening and evaporating the wine and converting it into ash. Afterwards, the ash was scanned for Cesium, and Hubert discovered a noticeably different amount of the chemical in wines dated before and after the Fukushima disaster. Nevertheless, this difference was only apparent after opening and ruining the wine, so it has no practical use for wine dating.

Wines dated more recently will still appear to have no traces of Cesium, as they should. How are we different? Why a Machine Learning Investment?

Fukushima’s Nuclear Imprint Is Found in California Wine (Drinkers, Don’t Panic)

The infamous Hardy Rodenstock Jefferson bottles. Photo: New District website. Wine fraud is a phenomenon with an enduring fascination. In May this year, German wine collector Hardy Rodenstock, long suspected of wine fraud, died and with him went the secret of the supposed hidden Parisian wine cellar in which he claimed to have discovered bottles of wine from the late s that had been owned by Thomas Jefferson.

It is normal to find traces of Cs on the grapes and therefore in the wine. This reference curve can therefore “date” the wine or at least determine if a wine is.

The Kitchen Sisters. French physicist Philippe Hubert uses gamma rays to detect radioactivity in wine. In a laboratory, deep under a mile-high stretch of the Alps on the French-Italian border, Philippe Hubert , a physicist at the University of Bordeaux, is testing the authenticity of a bottle of wine. First, Hubert takes the bottle in the hand and puts it close to a detector. After he closes the shielding, which blocks the radiation, he records the gamma rays.

The level of those gamma rays emitted can often tell him something about when the wine was bottled. For example, if it was bottled before about , there shouldn’t be any cesium — radioactive evidence of exploded nuclear bombs and the Atomic Age — in the wine. But that’s not the only way to do it. Maureen Downey, wine detective and founder of Chai Consulting wine appraisal and authentication in San Francisco, has a toolkit of items she uses to forensically examine bottles of wine — razor blades, magnifying glasses, jewelers loupes, flashlights, blue light.

And as fraud goes up, experts are going to greater lengths than ever before to authenticate wine — the fibers of the label paper, the tiny pits in the glass, the depth of the punt in the bottom of the bottle, all hold clues. And so do the corks.

There may be traces of radioactive particles from Fukushima in your California red wine

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French wines purporting to be produced before shouldn’t have any traces of cesium because they would pre-date nuclear tests and.

Two years ago, nuclear scientist Michael Pravikoff, an American ex-pat working in France, was shopping at the local supermarket when he came across a few bottles of Napa Valley Cabernet. It lead to a fascinating experiment that led to the discovery of radioactive isotopes generated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in California wines. Completely harmless levels of radioactive isotopes, to be more specific.

One of Pravikoff’s colleagues, pharmacologist Philippe Hubert , had discovered in that he could date unopened bottles of wine by testing them for cesium Cesium is a radioactive isotope of the element cesium that does not occur in nature. Any wines containing cesium would have to have been vinified after the midth century, when Cold War nuclear testing began. The presence of cesium, therefore, can be used as an identifying marker to authenticate when a wine was produced. Aboveground nuclear testing is a thing of the past, but two events in recent decades added cesium to the atmosphere: the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in and the Fukishima event of

Caesium-137 radioactivity


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