This wine has a bite and it’s not the tannins.
French researchers recently discovered that some Northern California wines bottled around the time of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan contain radioactive particles from the accident.
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The nuclear disaster was triggered by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the aftermath of which was widespread. Radioactive materials were released into the ocean and air, with some reaching as far as the Pacific coast.
For the study, researchers examined a series of vintage Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines from 2009 to 2012 to see if they could detect an increase in radioactive particles around the time the Fukushima Accident occurred.
The method used, which involves low background gamma spectrometry, was developed in 2011 by Philippe Hubert, one of the pharmacologists on the study. It was originally invented to determine the authenticity of vintage wines.
The researchers didn’t detect the cesium-137, a radioactive isotope, in the wine until they vaporized it and turned it into ash. At that point, the discovered the wine contained twice as much radioactive particles as the wines bottled before the nuclear disaster.
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However, the amount detected is still considered “extremely low.”