Nugget of Knowledge: Nuclear wine

Cesium-137 isn't natural, but it isn't harmful

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – In 1945, the U.S. Army conducted the first nuclear weapons test as part of the Manhattan Project.

Since then, there have been more than 2,000 nuclear explosions around the world.

Each nuclear explosion released a radioactive isotope called cesium-137. It is not normally found in nature.

Cesium-137 dust drifts through the atmosphere and reacts with rainwater to form a kind of salt. Plants absorb it through their roots.

Although it’s safe to drink, any wine bottled after 1945 has small amounts of cesium-137; we can detect it and we can use this to spot fake bottles claiming to be much older.

Did you miss an episode of Daybreak or want to re-visit a previous ‘Nugget’? View previous ‘Nugget of Knowledge’ entries on

If you have an idea for a ‘Nugget of Knowledge,’ send your idea in an email to