back to article Fukushima reactors lend exotic nuclear finish to California's wines

Savants reckon radiation released by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear kerfuffle has made its way into California's wine. A paper emitted this month by researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan (CNRS) in France revealed that levels of cesium-137 in the atmosphere rose as a result of …

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Somewhere in Austria, winemakers are wondering how the American's can get away with putting radiation in their wine but they put anti-freeze in their bottles and everyone lost their minds.

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Mushroom

Because the Austrians didn't share and put anti-freeze in every wine everywhere like America did with the Cs137 (and on that note Soviets, British, French & Chinese).

what other icon possible!

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Worse than anti-freeze!

There are detectable levels of Di-Hydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) in all California wines! DHMO is a well-known industrial solvent and coolant, and is used in virtually every commercial food growing operation in California! This chemical is adsorbed into all foods during production, and even after a thorough cleaning it is still present! Worse, it is present in all California produced foods, even if they are gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO, unfiltered and organically grown with no tree or ground nuts!

Ban all food produced in California! Write to your Congressman demanding the banning of DHMO, before it becomes so common you drown in it!

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Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

DHMO is highly addictive!! Once you start using it you can't stop or you DIE!!!

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Joke

Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

"Known by the state of Cancer to cause California"

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Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

Jake: Don't they use that stuff in pesticides too?

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Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

They actually dilute it with pesticides!

It's evil, I tells ya! BAN IT!

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Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

DHMO is especially pernicious in Ice Wine. The phase changes dramatically.

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Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

"DHMO is especially pernicious in Ice Wine. The phase changes dramatically."

Even in the Canadian Ice Wines?

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Because the levels of radiation are less than what you'd find in just about... anything around you. We're talking mBq per liter.

If you eat a single banana, you'd get more radiation exposure than if you chugged enough of this wine to give you alcohol poisoning.

Also, please, keep in mind that Radiation and Radioactive Particulate are different things. You can't really "put radiation" in anything, any more than you can "put light" in anything - most radiation we interact with *is* light, after all, and little of it lasts more than a few milliseconds.

Radioactive particulate is a different matter; it emits radiation.

Still, we are talking mBq/Liter. You might as well measure a beach by milli-granules-of-sand. Becquerels are not often used in professional communities regarding radiation because you wind up with measures on the orders of "Hundreds of Thousands of Becquerels" without it meaning * a dang thing *.

More common is the Curie.

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> If you eat a single banana, you'd get more radiation exposure

It's true that the level of radiation being discussed in this story is tiny, and nothing to worry about.

That said, since we're discussing the banana equivalent dose, I'd point out that it's misleading. It rests upon the fact that bananas contain potassium, of which a very small percentage (in nature) is the radioactive isotope potassium-40.

However, your body doesn't retain potassium much beyond the amount it needs; anything in excess will be secreted via the usual channels. (#) Thus, unless you were deficient to begin with, eating a banana isn't going to noticeably increase the amount of potassium- and hence radioactive potassium-40- in your body, which will remain fairly constant. (Hence, in turn, the (incredibly low) level of radiation that it exposes you to should also remain constant.)

In short, the radioactive potassium from bananas doesn't "build up" inside your body if you eat more of them, in contrast to other radioactive substances that can accumulate in your bones et al.

(#) It doesn't really matter whether the potassium it got rid of is the existing or "new" stuff, as it has a half-life of just over a billion years.

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Obligatory XKCD

Radiation

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IT Angle

Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

Even in the Canadian Ice!

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Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

ICEee what you did there.

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Grapes do not absorb much

The interesting tests are cucumber peel and mushrooms.

My family has a couple of friends who pinched a Geiger counter post Chernobyl and measured everything they could get their hands on (which was going to end up on the table).

There were only two things which drove it off the scale. Cucumbers (specifically the peel) and forest mushrooms.

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Joke

Re: Grapes do not absorb much

There were only two things which drove it off the scale. Cucumbers (specifically the peel) and forest mushrooms.

And there's not mushroom for error, there :)

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Re: Grapes do not absorb much

Just cucumbers? Not melons, squash or gourds?

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Re: Grapes do not absorb much

> not mushroom for error

Dead Man Fingers a

Devil's Boletus and finds

Its flesh bruises blue...

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Re: Grapes do not absorb much

And there are no cèpe-tions to that.

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Re: Grapes do not absorb much

Just cucumbers? Not melons, squash or gourds?

Cucumber peel specifically. Cucumber collects all sh*t from where it grows and deposits it in the peel. This was in the days when lead fuel was still in wide use so a couple of years later I decided to run some spectrometer tests on the peel. The results were let's say not pretty. I have been peeling cucumbers ever since (the core has little or no contamination).

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Mushroom

Re: Grapes do not absorb much

> There were only two things which drove it off the scale.

> Cucumbers (specifically the peel) and forest mushrooms.

You mean mushrooms like this one? ------------------------>

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Re: Grapes do not absorb much

Interesting that rosé has less Cs than reds and supports your cucumber peel reading: rosé wines are either pressed or more often “bled” off, so the actual fermenting juice is separated from the grape skin, so it would seem that it’s concentrated in the skin, and not just on it or in the yeast used for the wine ( the white powder on a grape skin is actually yeast and can be used to ferment the grapes naturally, though it can be filtered out in “post processing”.

As for mushrooms, in Germany if you hunt boar, you have to do a radiation test on them as some of them are not clean for human consumption due to their personal consumption of forest mushrooms and sometimes have to be disposed of as low level radioactive waste, and there have been some studies about using fungi in radiation cleanup as they do clean some radioactive elements from the earth where they grow, following some studies in Chernobyl where fungi growing in the plant were much more radioactive than the supports they were growing on - and explains the glow in the dark wild piggies who love shrooms...

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Re: Grapes do not absorb much

Did the mushrooms look cloudy?

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Radioactivity, wild boars

...what -were- they putting in the magic potion in that indomitable Gaulish village? (besides tea leaves, canonically established :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Grapes do not absorb much

> Forest mushrooms

Did they get them from the Red Forest by any chance?

(Then again, that's assuming they can grow there at all, given the radiation's adverse effects on bacteria and fungi...)

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Re: Grapes do not absorb much

glow in the dark wild piggies who love shrooms...

But that's enough about last night's drugfest..

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Re: Radioactivity, wild boars

magic potion in that indomitable Gaulish village? (besides tea leaves, canonically established

No no no - tea was for fobbing of those Eenglish with fake magic potion on the basis that they wouldn't know othewise.

Slightly ironic given what later happened to Napoleon[1]..

[1] Yes yes, I know that he was beaten by a coalition at Waterloo (British, some Germans and various Prussians). But the Peninsula War was mostly British with bit-parts by the Portugese and Spanish.

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Joke

Re: Grapes do not absorb much

And there's not mushroom for error, there :)

As long as it's done with a Toad's tool, so that it will not fung us!

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Alien

Re: Grapes do not absorb much

Ta for the upvotes. We seven in the emerging field of myco-horror haiku salute you!

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Pirate

Re: Grapes do not absorb much

"Cucumber peel specifically. Cucumber collects all sh*t from where it grows and deposits it in the peel. This was in the days when lead fuel was still in wide use so a couple of years later I decided to run some spectrometer tests on the peel. The results were let's say not pretty. I have been peeling cucumbers ever since (the core has little or no contamination)."

The peel also collects all (or nearly all) the useful nutrients. You know, the stuff that keeps you alive. The inside of the cucumber is mostly water. So, essentially, you have a choice.

* You can eat the whole thing, in which case you die slowly of radiation poisoning.

* Or you can peel it, in which case you die slowly of malnutrition.

(Unless, of course, the di-hydrogen monoxide gets you first.)

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Pint

Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

What's that in Banana Equivalent Dose (BED) ?

The entire purpose of the BED is to put exactly these sorts of things into proper perspective. Shame not to put it to use here.

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Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

A useful site conversion site.

https://www.translatorscafe.com/unit-converter/en/radiation-activity/

It gives 7.5mBq/litre as about 0.45 decays per minute, so if you drink the whole bottle (0.75 litre) you'll have to cross your legs for a long while to reach the 1860 particle decays in 1 BED minute (31 becquerel/gram)

and obligatory XKCD ref.

https://xkcd.com/radiation/

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Pint

Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

So 1860 / 0.45 = 4133 bottles of wine to reach one Banana Equivalent Dose. I'm working on it, but it may take the rest of my life. Cheers.

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Pint

Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

At a bottle per day, that's only eleven and a third years. Even if you give it up for Lent, you should be done by April 2032ish.

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Pint

Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

From a technical standpoint, the BED doesn't make much sense. Your body keeps more or less the same amount of potassium in it though the gift of micturition. This will help --->

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose#Debunking_the_Banana_Equivalent_Dose

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Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

You should be able to get a bottle or two on during Lent - you have to drink somthing with the host don’t you ?

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Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

@Symon you misunderstood; BED is not a precise scientific unit, it supposed to be just an aid in understanding if the radiation levels being talked about are well below background radiation, around the background radiation level, or well above it

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Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

@Jake

At a bottle per day, that's only eleven and a third years. Even if you give it up for Lent, you should be done by April 2032ish.

Hang on a minute...does this mean that we now can work out a formula to convert the BED in to a representative number of liver transplants, such that we could make a statement like "...a dose of radiation like that is equivalent to eating one banana, or to put it another way, a total of 6 months in rehab over a course of 4 visits, as well as 2 liver transplants"?

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Happy

Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

@Tomato42, yes, I get that it's there to try to explain to radiation exposure to people, but I would hope the commenters here understand what a sievert is. The fact of the matter is that eating a banana makes fuck all difference to your radiation exposure, because you piss out the potassium anyway. Now, your C-137 has a biological half life of c.110 days in a human*, so exposure to C-137 is more dangerous than potassium exposure, because it's an additional dosage.

Caesium is also more dangerous than potassium if you do this with it.

https://youtu.be/6ZY6d6jrq-0?t=101

* https://www.birpublications.org/doi/10.1259/0007-1285-37-434-108

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Re: Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

> but I would hope the commenters here understand what a sievert is.

and if the article gave the exposure in µSv (or likely nSv), I wouldn't complain, what it did is give the following:

> cesium-137 activity from about 7.5 mBq per liter to around 15

And Becquerel is about as intuitive as chains to the hogshead for fuel efficiency.

(I'd also hope that commenters here know that all SI units named after people are capitalised, or do you don't know of Rolf Sievert? j/k)

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yes, our scientific equipment is amazing...

...it can measure differences in dangerous substances couple of orders of magnitude below their dangerous levels

+1 on the BED above; how many hundreds of litres (litre is 1/159th of a tierce, for the metrically-challenged people) that need to be drunk for 1 BED?

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Re: yes, our scientific equipment is amazing...

Two litres is more than enough for me to end up drunk and in bed.

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Devil

Olde Japanese Spice

How do you ensure integrity, add a little Fukushima.

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" researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan"

Ah, yes. Those wacky French folks ... still trying to find ways to scare people off of California wines after gittin' a severe whuppin' at the Judgement of Paris back in '76 ... Sorry, guys (and gauls), our wine is still world-class, and it's going to stay that way.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get to the hospital to have this spare eye growing out of my left ear looked into.

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Boffin

Re: " researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan"

I suggest California and France hold another wine-off, this time a blind radiation tasting. 'Topes rule, baby!

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Re: " researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan"

<clickety-click>

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Pint

Re: " researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan"

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get to the hospital to have this spare eye growing out of my left ear looked into

I hope your health benefits package is all paid up this month. That could end up costin ya!

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Re: " researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan"

our wine is still world-class, and it's going to stay that way.

And, even more amusingly, at a blind tasting of sparkling white wines recently, a French judge scored an English wine more highly than Champagne.

Said English wine went on to claim the top prize.

Rumours that he had to flee into exile are, I'm sure, exaggerated.

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Re: " researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan"

Sorry, guys (and gauls), our wine is still world-class, and it's going to stay that way.

It did amuse me that the French were having a pop at Californian wines. Some of them are really nice, some of them are garbage. But then, it's the same in France. Give me Spanish reds any day.

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Re: " researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan"

Costing me, Alistair? Hell no! In the spirit of good-old American entrepreneurship, I'm charging them!

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