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Chernobyl and Whisky

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Chernobyl and Whisky

Postby Ileach » Thu Apr 25, 2002 5:27 am

Do you remember the accident at the Soviet nuclear power station of Chernobyl in 1986?

As a result of an experiment gone horribly wrong, reactor #4 exploded, releasing huge amounts of radioactive material in the following days and months which subsequently rained down on the whole of northern Europe.

Has anyone ever wondered if and how badly the barley used in making whisky was contaminated?

If so, would whisky made from that barley be radioactive?

And wouldn't the equipment (malting floor, kilns, malt mill, mash tun, washbacks, stills) be contaminated as well?

And what about the casks?

Or was that year's harvest simply replaced with barley from areas not affected by the accident (e.g. India)?



[This message has been edited by Ileach (edited 25 April 2002).]
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Postby Ize » Thu Apr 25, 2002 6:02 am

You are correct with northern Europe, but since when for instance Scotland has been in North? Due to direction of the wind at the time worst radioactive rains came down in Sweden (near Stockholm to my knowledge) and one "cloud" came down in Finland (up in the north Lapland) and in both places only problem has been that mushrooms were suggested to be avoided for year or two. In Finland worst problems were caused to reindeers because lichen, that they eat, concentrates all heavy metals. But measured radioactivity from reindeers did not exceed nowadays standards for alarming level. So you are scared for nothing Ileach.

Kippis,
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Postby Ileach » Thu Apr 25, 2002 6:11 am

All I know is that here in Switzerland (i.e. way further south than Scotland)very high levels of radioactivity were measured.
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Postby Ize » Thu Apr 25, 2002 12:25 pm

I still think that you are overreacting. Scotland on my maps seems to be much more far away that Switzerland or Finland from Chernobyl. And the wind was mainly blowing north-west to Sweden and to here in Finland at the time. High readings were measured, but not anything life threatening. As mentioned, certain plants (well mushrom isn't plant exactly ... erm, and not the lichen either I guess) concentrate heavy metals like Cesium and those were not suggested to eat for few years in large doses here in Finland also reindeer meat was on that list on those days. Nowadays some high readings can be measured from wild beast animals in the Lapland, but that's it. Nothing really severe here in Finland at least, but I'm not aware of the situation there in Switzerland. But looking from the link underneath, it wasn't that bad there either ... and in Scotland, hardly noticeable ... if anything.
http://home.acadia.net/cbm/Rad7b.html

[This message has been edited by Ize (edited 25 April 2002).]
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Postby Ileach » Thu Apr 25, 2002 12:50 pm

Thank you for that, Ize.

It is not that I am scared of receiving a lethal dose of radioactivity from my dram (let's face it, the alcohol poses a much greater health hazard anyway).

I just wondered whether, say, the 16-year old Lagavulin currently on the shelves in a supermarket near you which was distilled in 1986 shows any traces of the accident.



[This message has been edited by Ileach (edited 29 April 2002).]
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Postby Ize » Fri Apr 26, 2002 5:02 am

I think the 16 Y.O. Lagavulin we drink today, is from 1985 harvest and it is bottled 2001. So maybe next year you could ask again. Image
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Postby yorkie » Sat Apr 27, 2002 8:05 pm

After the incident in Chernobyl many farmers in the North/West of the UK did have problems with radioactive rain falling and contaminating the land. Many farms were unable to sell the milk from their cows and many sheep were not sent to market due to this problem. This went on for quite a few years.

Rest assurred none of the animals developed three heads (just the two!)

If there was any issue to be concerned about the 5, 8, 10, 12 year old whisky drinkers would be suffering before the 16 year old drinkers!

Back to my 15 yr old Glendronach...a very pleasant way to spend a saturday evening....its not glowing in the dark!

[This message has been edited by yorkie (edited 28 April 2002).]
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Postby Hendriks » Sun Apr 28, 2002 7:36 pm

However i've been to the bottom of Loch Ness in a sub from the university of Edinburgh. Deep down there is still a small level of radiation to be detected comming from Chernobyl. It is higher than normal but in no means dangerous.
But there certainly was radiation in Scotland during the disater.

Dennis
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