Cesium age dating
Pravikoff wondered if the California wines in the store would bear the marker of the Fukushima radiation.In their experiment, researchers tested 18 bottles of California Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache rosé from each vintage between 20.
They found increasing levels of cesium-137 in those wines produced after the Fukushima disaster.We know these steps because researchers followed the progress of carbon-14 throughout the process.Radioactive isotopes are useful for establishing the ages of various objects.Low levels of radiation similar to those of the California wines have also been found in French wines from the vintages following Chernobyl."The California Department of Public Health's Radiologic Health Branch (RHB) performs weekly air monitoring along the California coast and tabulates and publishes the data on its website," said Corey Egel, a department spokesperson.Radioactive isotopes are effective tracers because their radioactivity is easy to detect.
A is a substance that can be used to follow the pathway of that substance through some structure.
Any wines containing cesium-137 would have to have been vinified after the mid-20th century, when Cold War nuclear testing began.
The presence of cesium-137, therefore, can be used as an identifying marker to authenticate when a wine was produced.
The amount of radiation present in all the wine tested by their lab is too small to harm a person's health.
"If you consume any wine from the late 1960s, there will be hundreds of times more radioactivity than in these Fukushima wines—a result of the nuclear testing from those times," said Andrew Waterhouse, former viticulture and enology department chair at the Univeristy of California at Davis and the newly appointed faculty director of the school's Robert Mondavi Institute.
After incorporating radioactive atoms into reactant molecules, scientists can track where the atoms go by following their radioactivity.