back to article Germany's wild boars still too radioactive to eat largely due to Cold War nuke tests

You may be surprised to know that Germany's wild boars are too radioactive to eat – and Chernobyl may not be solely to blame. Fallout from nuclear weapons testing decades ago during the Cold War is a significant contributor to that radiation, it turns out. High levels of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 – or caesium-137 for …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Things are so bad...

    ...in the Berlin area that the boars started mutating into lions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Things are so bad...

      And why is this not an issue in other parts of the world? It's not like truffles don't exist in North America, for example.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Things are so bad...

        Chernobyl is 900 miles away and had nothing to do with this irradiation. It's all on the radical imperialist westerners and their atomic tests on the other side of the globe.

        (Said nobody, at anytime.)

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Things are so bad...

          Pigs are quite smart. Are we sure this isn't just propaganda put out by the pigs -through their secret control of the media - to stop people eating them ?

          After all they managed to infiltrate two major religions to keep themselves off the menu.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: Things are so bad...

            True, but cows were the first to infiltrate a major religion...

  2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    This is actually a devious plan .....

    ..... by the boar to ensure that they stay off the menu!

    Being tasty to eat and healthy is not a good survival plan in this modern age!

    1. Casca Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

      That explains americans.

      1. Shane Lusby

        Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

        Honestly over here that are far more interested in the tasty to eat than the healthy side. I'm betting if they marketed radioactive boar meat as a cure for vaccines they couldn't kill them fast enough to keep up with the demand.

        1. DS999 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

          Your ideas are intriguing to me and I would like to subscribe to your podcast.

        2. Mark 85

          Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

          Honestly over here that are far more interested in the tasty to eat than the healthy side. I'm betting if they marketed radioactive boar meat as a cure for vaccines they couldn't kill them fast enough to keep up with the demand.

          And if they could get it to glow in the dark, it would end being the perfect late night snack as no one would need to turn on a light and wake up the rest of the family.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

            @Margaret Atwood, is that you?

      2. Grinning Bandicoot

        Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

        americans are tasty and good to eat? I thoght it was only missionaries that matched that category.

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

      Depends on whether you're also capable of breeding in captivity. Then it becomes a pretty good plan. Pigs and sheep and cows and chickens outnumber pretty much anything in their categories.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

      It's Bavaria only. Elsewhere in Germany wild board is regularly on the menu and in the butchers: lovely colour and taste.

      1. Bill Neal

        Re: Bavaria only .....

        How can that possibly be? Is nobody testing anywhere else in the world?

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

        "Elsewhere in Germany wild board is regularly on the menu"

        I had some plank in Berlin once. Sauteed in butter. Tasted like a really, really bad California Chardonnay.

    4. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

      Wild pigs DO NOT taste good, if fact they taste quite bad.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

        You have to butcher them and cook the meat. You can't just lick them.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: This is actually a devious plan .....

        You must have had a bad experience. Poor thing.

  3. b0llchit Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Care?

    We must take good care of our planet...

    Wishful thinking. We've been doing such a good job at "taking good care" that we are in a new geological era because of our meddling.

    1. Steve Button Silver badge

      Re: Care?

      Only a very small number of geologists believe we are in a new era. Just saying something doesn't make it true.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Care?

        Geologists define geological periods. If they define us as being within a new period than, by definition, we are. It may, in your eyes, be an arbitrary definition but that's the nature of geology. On the one hand changes are unusually gradual but they are none the less real and it's not feasible to understand the Earth's history without dividing it into phases of some sort. Given that we have become a major influence on the processes that happen on the Earth's surface it would be foolish not to recognise a new phase.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Care?

          Geologists define geological periods. If they define us as being within a new period than, by definition, we are.

          Sure, but that would mean consensus, not a headline-grabbing fringe.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Care?

            "but that would mean consensus"

            This sort of thing? http://quaternary.stratigraphy.org/working-groups/anthropocene/

            "not a headline-grabbing fringe"

            So would that exclude the International Commission on Stratigraphy

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Care?

          "Geology is not a real science"

          Sheldon Lee Cooper, Ph. D., Sc. D. Nobel Prize Winner.

          Or, more fully:

          Penny : What's wrong with geology?

          Sheldon Cooper : Let me put this in a way you'll understand Penny. You remember how you explained to me that the Kardashians aren't real celebrities? Well, geology is the Kardashians of science.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Care?

            Oops, we appear to have humour impaired geologist in the room :-)

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Care?

              Some of us regard Big Bang Theory as the humor-impaired element here. I enjoy plenty of rubbish art (not so much television these days, because my tolerance for synchronous media has plummeted), but BBT ... yikes.

              (I didn't downvote you.)

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Care?

                BBT has its place, I guess. And I have seen an actual funny bit once or twice (one of the guys next door watches it religiously).

                But don't ask me to sit through a complete episode. Not my cuppa. TV is a vast wasteland, and I have better things to do.

          2. david 12 Silver badge

            Re: Care?

            Our 'old' science museum used to have endless rooms of display cases showing 'rocks'. Filled in the 1800's, when geology was both "rocket science" and "brain surgery": the cutting edge of scientific endeavor that all pseudo-sciences like "chemistry" wished to be. Geology explained where we came from and where we are going (it's the father of Darwin's theory of the "origin of species'), and, once we'd classified and studied the "rocks" enough, would one day explain "mal-airia" and "miasma" (the causes of sickness), replacing naive theories about "God" and "evil spirits" still held by "Roman Catholics" and ignorant "natives"

            Mostly gone now: just a large glass wall display in the new building.

            1. blackcat Silver badge

              Re: Care?

              The rocks are in the natural history museum now. It is a nice part of the museum as it is free from kids :)

          3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Care?

            "Geology is not a real science"

            It's the Greek prefix that makes it seem legitimate. If they'd called it "earthology" no-one would take it seriously.

      2. Dr Dan Holdsworth
        Boffin

        Re: Care?

        Proclaiming something to be "Settled science" also sounds suspiciously like someone trying to shut down debate on a contentious issue.

        It should be noted that Darwinian evolution is not regarded as "settled science" by biologists. Instead, the debate is still open and very interesting things like inheritance of gene promoter levels and other rapidly-changing evolutionary things have been noted. Not Lamarckianism per se, but getting quite close to information transmission from generation to generation. Oh, and then you have the interesting embryo nested in embryo thing that asexually-reproducing aphids do, so the adult mother influences whether her grand-daughters have wings or not.

        By keeping a subject open and not settled, research is furthered and science benefits; shut the debate down and eventually everyone starts seeing cover=ups even when there aren't any.

        1. Steve Button Silver badge

          Re: Care?

          Indeed. Just because "some scientists" have said something, doesn't make it settled. (although the usual suspect seem to think so, being the BBC and The Guardian)

          If the OP had changed "we are in a new geological era " to "we might be in a new geological era", I'd have no problems with that.

          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Care?

            If the OP had changed "we are in a new geological era " to "we might be in a new geological era", I'd have no problems with that.

            No. Eras don't exist as such - they have no definitions. They are just convenient ways to divide up the geological timeline, and they make it easier to group together various events and processes which dominated at different times. We are "in a new geological era " if, and only if, geologists say we are. And they will say we are if it gives some convenience to them in the way they talk about the processes. I am not a geologist but I believe there is rough consensus that calling this a new era is useful and that they expect that to be borne out by future geologists (who will give the names that matter in the future).

            But whether or not we are "in a new era" has no actual meaning or effect. What matters is the undeniable fact that a lot of plastics and other man-made materials are being deposited into the currently-building layers. That is true, whether or not later geologists decide to give that a name and decide to define its start as around now.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Care?

              I wonder if in the future it will be a "K-T Boundary" event rather than an "age". After all, they define an "age" as being thousands to millions of years, so defining a new age based on plastics deposition is being incredibly more accurate and precise than any other Age, at least for the start, hopefully for the end, and ideally, a very short time period.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Care?

                K-T boundary: Cretaceous - Tertiary Paleocene boundary

                The idea of an Anthropocene is more than plastics deposition. It reflects man as a major factor in the Earth history: deforestation, release of CO2 from fossil coal and hydrocarbon sources, occurrence of transuranic elements, fly ash etc in stratigraphy - how long a list of changes do you want?

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Care?

                  "The idea of an Anthropocene is more than plastics deposition. It reflects man as a major factor in the Earth history"

                  Personally, I'm of the opinion that it reflects man's need to receive research money from the Government.

                  A geologic epoch runs from hundreds of thousands of years to tens of millions. Man hasn't been making an appreciable impact on much of anything for hundreds of thousands of years yet. Except perhaps the meaning of the word "hubris".

                  1. John H Woods Silver badge

                    Re: Care?

                    "Man hasn't been making an appreciable impact on much of anything..."

                    This is simply false. Man and his livestock are 90% of mammalian landmass. Atmospheric CO2 ppm has gone up 50% since I was at school.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Care?

                      Re-read what I wrote. The entire sentence reads "Man hasn't been making an appreciable impact on much of anything for hundreds of thousands of years yet.", which somewhat changes the meaning of the bit you carefully edited to support your thesis. Learning well from your "climate science" masters, I see.

                      Short-term effects do not an Epoch make.

                    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                      Re: Care?

                      "Man and his livestock are 90% of mammalian landmass. Atmospheric CO2 ppm has gone up 50% since I was at school."

                      You were at school 10,000+ years ago? mankinds noticeable and measurable impact on the planet barely reaches back 500 years, maybe a 1000 or 2000 in some specific isolated cases. Well done for quoting out of context to make an irrelevant point.

                    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: Care?

                      This is simply false. Man and his livestock are 90% of mammalian landmass. Atmospheric CO2 ppm has gone up 50% since I was at school

                      That's the geological equivalent of weather vs climate. Or a mild gust of wind in comparison with geological timescales, where something 100ka old is as fresh as a Twinkie. Plus mammalian landmass is pretty insignificant compared to plants, insects or soil bacteria.. All of which are part of the carbon cycle.

                      And then there's the significance and causation of CO2 variations, eg-

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeling_Curve

                      In 1938, engineer and amateur meteorologist Guy Stewart Callendar compared datasets of atmospheric CO2 from Kew in 1898–1901, which averaged 274 parts per million by volume (ppmv), and from the eastern United States in 1936–1938, which averaged 310 ppmv, and concluded that CO2 concentrations were rising due to anthropogenic emissions.

                      So Callendar was not a climate scientist. But that one statement raises a number of issues, many of which continue to this day. Correlation is not causation. We're told atmospheric CO2 is a 'well mixed gas', so why was there such a huge variation in measurements? We also know from biology that 270ppmv leads to less efficient photosynthesis and lower crop yields, and if the trend was reversed and CO2 levels were falling, we'd really have a "CO2 Emergency", mass starvation and impending extinction.

                      And thanks to geology and biology, we know that many aspects of climate dogma are nowhere near "worse than we thought". So chalk gave us the name of an earlier epoch, the Cretaceous. Gigatonnes of chalk are the bones of plankton, coccolithophores and other small critters. We're told that 'ocean acidification' will lead to the extinction of ocean life, including modern coccolithophores. And yet how can it be that we have so many meters of chalk skeletons, when CO2 levels were much higher than they are today? Plus those ancestors will save us from any acidification, the oceans are mildly alkaline, and chalk neutralises acids. But the climate industry likes stuff like 'acidification' because it allows marketing memes like aluminium hulls dissolving in an acid bath. We're doomed! Doomed! they tell you, unless you act now and give them all your money.

                      Shame those climate 'experts' can't explain chalk, or how plants managed to grow under glaciers though.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Care?

                        Wait, he compared readings taken on different CONTINENTS and assumed they should be the same if nothing had changed? I'm also wondering about the reliability and accuracy of measurements taken a hundred years ago; our instruments and technique have improved dramatically since then. (I'm very skeptical of anyone who can tell me the average temperature 1000+ years ago. Show me the thermometer you used...)

                        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                          Re: Care?

                          Wait, he compared readings taken on different CONTINENTS and assumed they should be the same if nothing had changed? I'm also wondering about the reliability and accuracy of measurements taken a hundred years ago; our instruments and technique have improved dramatically since then. (I'm very skeptical of anyone who can tell me the average temperature 1000+ years ago. Show me the thermometer you used...)

                          That's real science for you, vs RealScience which is more the discovery and study of epicycles. But that's the thing with observations. Keeling observed differences in CO2 concentrations at different locations, and drew a conclusion. Then it's publish, and be damned by your peers, who may disagree with your conclusions. Data are data, and if they're sound, should support the hypothesis and conclusion. The Keeling data are still useful given they're the longest time series for CO2 that we have, even though the observation methods have changed over time. We know there are variations in CO2 levels, and we now have satellites that can observe CO2 concentrations from space, but in climate terms, there isn't really a lot of data to necessarily draw meaningful conclusions.

                          Another fun area are sunspot variations. We discovered those in the 1600's after inventing telescopes. After astronomers discovered how to take more that 2 observations (one with each eye), it's allowed data on those to be collected. But our ability to observe sunspots has improved dramatically since then, so we can count many more. So scientists came up with standards like the Wolf Number to try and keep the data consistent over long periods. Leaning about the science is rather fascinating, and being told to just shut up and accept it makes me question just how certain the people promoting pet theories really are.

                          But it's also much like this story.. There's been a lot of work done on the spread of fallout since Chernobyl, we understand isotope formation pretty well, so is there something unique about this area that's resulted in higher levels of contamination? Or are other areas similarly contaminated, but nobody's had the funding or inclination to go look? Or, does it really matter given the levels of contamination are pretty low, and probably safe? But that's true with a lot of junk(food) science. Ok, it's contaminated, but to get any real risk of harm from radiation, how many boars would you need to eat every week? Which is much like the good'ol Banana Equivalent Dose. Bananas are radioactive. Deal with it. But to suffer any harmful effects, you'd have consume A LOT of bananas, and hyperkalemia would kill you long before the radiation did.

                        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                          Re: Care?

                          I'm also wondering where the Kew samples were taken.

                          If it was in the greenhouses, then I would actually expect CO2 to be lower, because of the action of photosynthesis.

                          Again, if it were in the greenhouses, when the samples were taken would matter, because plants respire all the time, but on photosynthesise when it is light.

            2. Joe W Silver badge

              Re: Care?

              I'm going to do the stupid "well, actually"....

              Well, actually (told you so) there is a large number of geologists that are less impressed by so called epochs and eras if the stuff is still undergoing lots of changes. 'Quaternary Geology", my arse, the stuff has not even properly settled down. The main point is that apparent boundaries we try to identify now might not be as clear cut once it properly petrifies. As somebody else remarked, it is down to future generations (in the distant future, I'd say) to find good terms for this. And adding to that, we have just very recently entered the holocene (recently in geological terms).

              Still, I absolutely adore the term "Pleistocene-Plastocene-Transition"!

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Care?

                'Quaternary Geology", my arse

                I take it this is a view based on long and detailed exploration of the field? Or is it a case of "who needs experts"?

              2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Care?

                there is a large number of geologists

                Out of curiosity, what is this number? Do you have a citation for it?

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Care?

                  Didn't you read the man? It's a LARGE number!

                  WOW!

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Care?

            Just because "some scientists" have said something, doesn't make it settled.

            A most Moggisn point of view.

        2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

          Re: Care?

          It should be noted that Darwinian evolution is not regarded as "settled science" by biologists.

          In that biologists by and large, to satisfy the definition of a scientist, subscribe to the Popperian notion that science is never settled, only yet to be disproved. Sometimes the disproof of a theory would have to be outrageously bizarre, so that's something like settled.

          Asexual reproduction relies on mutation alone as selection pressure, rather than the whole recombination thing. So oddities where species have a mixed sexual/asexual mode are almost to be expected. Not contradictions to evolution, though.

          The Darwinian/Mendelian synthesis is falsifiable, makes predictions borne out by observation, and has not been contradicted by observation. Lamarckism, Lysenkoism, and Invisible Pink Unicornism aren't.

        3. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

          Re: Care?

          "Proclaiming something to be "Settled science" also sounds suspiciously like someone trying to shut down debate on a contentious issue."

          That is what religions do. Like the Church of Climatology!

          1. 43300 Silver badge

            Re: Care?

            And the Church of Covid!

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Care?

        I believe it was the recent body that the decided this based on the sediment found in a Canadian lake. Lots to debate about the causes and effects but, geologically speaking it's already, ahem, settled.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question

    In nuclear reactors, the level of xenon-135 is controlled and converted to its stable form of xenon-136 through neutron absorption

    This is for a nuclear reactor that doesn't have a big hole in the top of it, right?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Question

      It would be the situation in a nuclear reactor before it had a big hole in the top. What came out of the big hole would have been what was produced before the big hole was made.

      1. Casca Silver badge

        Re: Question

        Or continued to produce after the big hole.

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: Question

          It was a steam explosion, so the majority of what came out and was projected a significant distance would have been produced before the explosion.

    2. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: Question

      I would have thought that too. The most accepted theory as to the chernobyl explosion is that xenon poisoning caused the power drop which made them remove too many control rods.

      1. sitta_europea Silver badge

        Re: Question

        The disaster was caused by an idiotic, unsanctioned experiment on a reactor with widely known design defects.

    3. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: Question

      Pretty much, xenon poisoning was part of the root cause for the Chernobyl reactor blowing its top. It had been running at full power for an extended period, then ran at extremely low power for the test, then they tried to bring it back to full power and had trouble getting the power output to increase. So, they pulled the control rods far higher than normal and never considered xenon poisoning the reaction. Then, the xenon began to "burn" off and the reactor went into a prompt critical excursion far beyond its rated output and displayed its explosive temper.

  5. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    So it wasn't because he fell into the potion as a baby after all?

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      nah, just another plan to stop Obelix and friends visiting the original Goths

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Speaking as the owner of quite a bit of black clothing, black lippy and dark purple nail varnish, I resemble that remark.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahhhh Chernobyl 1986

    I spent 2 months camping across Scandinavia under some odd Ukrainian generated clouds.

    My Dad was involved in the British H bomb tests in the 50s.

    We’re both well, thank you.

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: Ahhhh Chernobyl 1986

      I was born a week after Tsar Bomba was detonated. It's a bit of an in joke between my radiologist and myself, as I am a tad "brighter" on a gamma camera than my children are.

  7. abend0c4 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, in Japan...

    There's an apparently similar phenomenon in Japan where there are radioactive wild boar as a result of the Fukushima incident.

    However, in a study, there was a huge difference in radiation levels between animals found around the power plant (on average 470 Bq/kg) and those taken from a control region roughly 600km away (1.5 Bq/kg).

    You might imagine that if a substantial part of the excess radiation in pigs came from atmospheric weapons fallout and not from more local events that it might be more widely distributed. What could account for it being concentrated in Bavaria?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

      It might be just be that this was observed in Bavaria, because of this study. I think the next step would for this to be measured and studied in Austria, Czechia etc.

      I live in Czechia, I like boar meat, it's relatively popular and available. I would like to know just how radioactive it is... not that it's guaranteed to stop me ;)

      This should really spur more research. One local effect I could think of would be uranium mining, back in the 50s nobody really cared about safety too much. However, as far as I know that wouldn't really produce cesium isotopes, which are more often the results of fission, rather than decay. I don't know more than high school physics about this though.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

        Is this not detailing the fact that truffles (of the porcine-favoured type, there are many others) bio-accumulate caesium. Perhaps boar in northern Europe eat truffles but those in Japan prefer japanese food ...? A wider study comparing more European populations and comparing them to Asian ones may well be interesting.

      2. Wzrd1 Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

        Won't get a microgram of cesium-135 or 137 from uranium mining. We don't mine uranium by fissioning it.

        Well, save in Gabon, but that was noticed because the U-235 / U-238 ratio was wildly off, with the 235 flavor being far below the typical 0.7% level, due to it fissioning in a natural reactor a billion years ago.

        And not a lick of cesium-137 there, as that has around a 35 year half-life.

        But, observing it preferentially concentrating in truffles does suggest a bioremediation pathway using various fungi. One then gets stuck storing dehydrated radioactive fungi for a century or so, then able to safely discard it.

        1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

          Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

          I haven't heard of Truffles having an exceptionally high level of contamination.

      3. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

        Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

        If the boars eat too many radioactive fungai do they become self-roasting boar?

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

      The radioactive hybrid terror pigs!

      "Radioactive hybrid terror pigs have made themselves a home in Fukushima's exclusion zone"

      https://www.theregister.com/2021/07/01/radioactive_hybrid_terror_pigs_fukushima/

      Ah, the good 'ol days.

    3. GrumpenKraut
      Boffin

      Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

      > What could account for it being concentrated in Bavaria?

      Having been there I can give you one reason.

      Air moved from the disaster area over parts of southern Germany. There was localized rain at the parts most affected. The rain was just enough to bring down the radioactive stuff, but *not* nearly enough to wash that shit down the drains.

      Therefore some places where the rain water collected (but, again, didn't go further) were quite radioactive. At the Uni where I studied we had a small amount of such dirt/sand in the spectrum analyzer (term? I mean the one for radioactivity; that thing needed to be cooled all times). Over time you could watch the half life of several elements you normal never encounter in nature.

      P.S.: I'd not be worried about radioactivity unless eating fucktons of that meat (or mushrooms), even in the 'hot' regions.

      1. abend0c4 Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

        That would explain the Chernobyl-related radiation. It wouldn't explain why there was a concentration of weapons testing fallout as the article implies. [not my downvote, btw]

        1. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

          We had Turkish tea, same experiment. And a brick from one of the buildings (strong K line)....

          Fun times!

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

          Unless the Russians chose their timings correctly in terms of wind direction, Germany mostly gets winds from the west so I expect the fallout from Russian nuclear test bombs to mostly have gone east, not west. There's probably records of wind directions and dates of bomb tests if anyone wants to spend the time checking.

          1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

            Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

            Soviet testing, US testing in the US, south of the equator wouldn't carry much between hemispheres. Then, there was that debacle from a running reactor that caught fire at Windscale, which would also be rather high in Cs-137.

          2. GrumpenKraut

            Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

            Wind from the east is not rare in Germany: in summer it typically means sunny dry hot weather, in winter it typically means sunny dry cold weather.

        3. Wzrd1 Silver badge

          Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

          Actually, most of the Soviet testing was in one general location, unlike US and European testing, which occurred in captured island atolls (and for the UK, one in Australia, with the US detonating a shitload of warheads in Nevada). Wind patterns could trivially carry moderate yield to high yield device fallout into a fair chunk of Europe. Hell, the US used to send balloons up to monitor Soviet fallout over New Mexico.

          There was a really big stink about one of the then classified balloons crashing in a tiny town called Roswell. Yeah, I'm serious, that got declassified quite a while ago.

          1. blackcat Silver badge

            Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

            Eastman Kodak detected the first bomb test from the fallout dropping on its paper mill.

            https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a21382/how-kodak-accidentally-discovered-radioactive-fallout/

    4. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, in Japan...

      Secret Nazi bunkers? Oh, sorry, those are on the dark side of the Moon.

  8. wolfetone Silver badge
    Coat

    "4691 irradiated haggis boar!!!!"

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      I'm boared.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Signed in just to updoot this.

  9. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

    "thousands of nuclear weapons tests"

    A tad over 2000 apparently:

    https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-nuclear-tests-day/history#:~:text=All%20told%2C%20of%20the%20over%202%2C000%20nuclear%20explosions,50%20by%20France%20and%20over%2020%20by%20China.

    with 'only' about 25% of those atmospheric (that's probably quite enough)

  10. FIA Silver badge

    Yesterday I read an article pointing out the improvements in batteries since the turn of the century, and had to double take as I didn't think they were invented in 1900.

    Now you write this:

    the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster, and nuclear weapons testing during that century.

    STOP MAKING ME FEEL OLD!

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Boffin

      Coincidence?

      The Leclanché cell was invented in 1886

      waitaminit

      Sorry, that was 1866 :P

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Yesterday I read an article pointing out the improvements in batteries since the turn of the century, and had to double take as I didn't think they were invented in 1900.

      I presume you mean lithium based batteries? The first(*) battery was the voltaic pile, which was invented in 1799.

      (*) As far as we know. Give it a couple of decades and I wouldn't be surprised if archaeologists claim the ancient Greeks knew how to make batteries but only used them to light farts at drunken parties.

      1. cantankerous swineherd

        the Greeks well known for buggering about over the weekend.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        There's always the alleged Baghdad Battery to throw in and liven up the discussion :-)

        And depending on who/what you believe, the alleged power generation capabilities of the Ark of the Covenant :-)

        1. James O'Shea

          I see your Ark and raise you Thor and Ogun and Huracan. And even Zeus gets a mention.

          Crom is over there, drinking. If he cared, he could generate a light show, too. He doesn't care. Unless you spill his beer. Bad idea.

      3. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

        There is apparently evidence that they may well have had pottery enclosed wet batterys, or that may be Ancient Alien type evidence

        1. jake Silver badge

          "they may well have had pottery enclosed wet batterys"

          The only problem with that theory is that the supposed "batteries" only have a single external electrode. Without two electrodes you won't have a circuit.

          My gut feeling is that they were a fetish from some cult or other, but we'll never really know unless we find a tablet from the era describing them.

          "or that may be Ancient Alien type evidence"

          You mean "wild unscientific conjecture to sell books and TV shows to idiots", right?

    3. GruntyMcPugh

      I was at 6th form. We gathered soil and water samples from various places around the school grounds into labelled containers, (old 35mm film canisters) marked where the samples were gathered on a map, went back to the Physics lab, tested them all with a Geiger counter and,... well,... were a little disappointed.

    4. Caver_Dave Silver badge
      Boffin

      In 1901 there were more electric cars than petrol & diesel cars in the US.

      If batteries had evolved at the same rate as the petrol engine, then they would be the size of your fist, power your car for a thousand miles and be swapped for a full one in a charging receptacle at the local garage.

      However, other interests were served by buying and shutting down most battery and electric car companies.

      1. pklausner

        The real answer is 42!

        42 MJ/kg, that is, the energy content of gasoline. This is one of the highest chemical energy densities to be found anywhere. The chemical processes in a battery must be perfectly reversible many times, which makes it basically impossible to reach the same ordner of magnitude. Think about it this way: pumping gasoline delivers around 25 MW. Don't expect an electric charger like that.

        1. Caver_Dave Silver badge

          In modern times we've only been sensibly looking at electric cars for about 20 years.

          Think of the conversion rate of gas to HP in a 1920's engine to get a comparison of the relevant stage of technology enhancement. (Perhaps make that a 1940's car as batteries used elsewhere do cross-pollinate the auto world battery technology.)

          To your other point of pumping gas. Physically swapping a battery for a charged one could achieve that transfer rate and more. Maybe the 'headline grabbing fist size' is not totally feasible, but automated swapping of larger batteries (of a standard volume and connection positions) on a forecourt in a few seconds would be quite possible now, given a little political will.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            -- automated swapping of larger batteries --

            Certainly, as long as you can guarantee that I don't get a knackered one in exchange. The diesel I pour into my tank is always nice and new and has the same amount of energy store in it. Can the same be said of the replacement battery?

        2. sitta_europea Silver badge

          Give over, hydrogen is a hundred and forty-two.

          Pumping how much gasoline? And pumping gasoline doesn't deliver energy, it absorbs it.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        I think it is a bit of a stretch to assume that the recent research that has made electric cars viable could equally have been done 100 years earlier if we'd been bothered.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Define viable.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        "If batteries had evolved at the same rate as the petrol engine, then they would be the size of your fist, power your car for a thousand miles..."

        Batteries have theoretical upper limits of energy storage that are still far below that of liquid hydrocarbons. Even if we could manage to make batteries that match the theoretical upper limits, they would pack about 1kWh/kg. A 10kg battery (a bit bigger than a standard car battery) would give 10kWh, which even in a high-efficiency car* would get you around 60km. A thousand-mile charge is unrealistic (how many diesel cars can take you that far on a tank?), but 500-600 miles (around 800 - 1000 km) would be perfectly acceptable. Even with our 'perfect' upper-limit battery, you would probably need it to be around 100 - 150 kg to get the same range as a current diesel (Note that batteries in current long-range electric cars are around 500kg). Note that electric motors remove the need for a number of big hunks of metal - engine block, transmission, exhaust manifold and tailpipe etc, and battery weight can be put in the floor of a car to stabilise the ride, so your imaginary electric car with a 10kg battery would still need ballast weight to keep it stable.

        A lot of modern battery technology is highly dependent on other hi-tech processes, so there is still a limit on how fast they could have evolved even if heavily invested in 100 years ago. The reality is that advances in ICEs went faster than advances in battery tech because mechanical engineering was easier and cheaper than chemical and electrical, and it was not economically feasible for an electric car to compete with an ICE given the technology and materials (even now, a similar-performance electric car is a bit more expensive than it's equivalent, though the gap is narrowing fast)

        *Both car aerodynamics and electric motors have a century of development behind them and are extremely mature, so battery-to-motion efficiency is not going to get any better.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    truffles

    If the boars are too radioactive to eat after eating truffles, what does that say about truffles? I for one won't be eating any Bavarian ones any time soon.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: truffles

      More for me then

      I also look forward to a drop in the price of Sushi thanks to China's political hyperbole

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be easy to hunt, though..

    I mean, they'll be glowing in the dark..

    :)

    1. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: Must be easy to hunt, though..

      I wonder if the boar are radioactive enough that skewering them on a carbon moderator rod would make them cook themselves,... : -)

  13. Tom 7

    I like the idea of using the radioactivity to

    enable powered flight to glowing pigs.

  14. Nano nano

    Typo/fact checking

    "telerrium-135" ?!

    What's that?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fission_products_(by_element)

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Typo/fact checking

      I think it's related to the iodine-13.

      1. Richard Pennington 1

        Re: Typo/fact checking

        Some Americans never got the hang of elementary education. So they miss vowels out of "aluminium" and "caesium". And then of course there is "tungsten", which they think is a wolf in sheep's clothing ... so they call it "wolf-ram".

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Typo/fact checking

          "so they call it "wolf-ram"."

          No, you ignorant sophomoric xenophobe, we do not. It has always been Tungsten on this side of the pond. However, the Brits used Wolfram for a period of time through at least the mid-1700s.

          c.f. the 1757 English translation of Henckel’s Pyritologia, "Though this tin ore be not easily separable from wolfram, a kind of mock-tin, or an irony tin mineral." ... Chapter IX, page 132.

          Personally, I think it SHOULD be called Wolfram, because that's what the guys who first managed to isolate it called it.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Typo/fact checking

            However, the Brits used Wolfram for a period of time through at least the mid-1700s.

            I think you mean English. Our language, our rules! Merriam-Webster is not an English language dictionary!

            But I digress. Naming rights and rules seem one of those strange off-shoots of science, and I think Wolfram sounds better anyway. Then there's the eternal aluminium vs aluminum, and I'm suprised there have been no demands to rename Element-115. The new McDonalds.. a Donalds burger with a little something extra.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Typo/fact checking

              "I think you mean English. Our language, our rules! Merriam-Webster is not an English language dictionary!"

              The book I was discussing was both translated and published in The Strand, London, approximately one year before Noah Webster was born, so I rather suspect that the British had more to say about it than any prototype American outlaw lexicographer.

  15. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Hold the f'ing panic!

    "In 88 percent of the samples, the level of radiation from cesium-137 exceeded Germany's food safety limits of 600 Bq/kg.

    By how much did it exceed Germany's food safety limit? Did they hit 601, or 6,001, or worse? What is considered a base-line normal level of cesium-137?

    How does Germany's food safety limit compare to the rest of the world? Japan is hyper-sensitive toward radiation limits following Fukishima and other historical events. What limits are tolerated by other developed nations?

    Dare I ask how much of Germany's food supply is made up of wild swine. And if wild swine is an insignificant part of the average German's diet, what does Germany's food safety limit have to do with anything? The whole basis for this article only matters if wild swine are a significant part of a the local food supply.

    This article is nothing more than an induced panic hit piece that is short on relevant data, and long on data about everything else.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

      According to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, European limits for 137-Cs contamination (in becquerels/kg) is (unsurprisingly!) 600 Bq/kg. FDA limits on the other hand are 1200 Bq/kg, so apparently Americans can eat Bavarian wild boars, it takes exactly twice the amount of 137-Cs to harm an American...

      Now the thing is, half life of 137-Cs is around 30 years, IIRC the test happened mostly in the 50-60ies, so at least half of it is already gone. If Bavarian soil is still that much contaminated nowadays, it must have been really hot back then! Has anybody counted how many arms and legs the average Bavarian has?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

        Not worried about the arms and legs.

        The beer, however..

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

        "so apparently Americans can eat Bavarian wild boars"

        Why pay the import costs, though?

        We have plenty of our own wild boar on this side of the pond ... and they are considered an invasive species, so it's pretty much open season on the varmints.

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

          Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

          But they taste terrible!

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

            I disagree. You probably need to know exactly how to cook them (not my area of expertise), but I've eaten delicious wild boar (family hunts).

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

            It's really, really tasty when done right. Here's a recipe;

            Brine 8 to 10 lb (3.5 to 4.5 kilo) whole pork shoulder in fridge overnight (can go bigger or smaller, nothing changes but the cooking time). Dry off, and then place in fridge, uncovered, for about 12 hours. Place in 220F (105C) smoker with well soaked apple wood chips and a pan of water underneath to catch the drippings and provide humidity. Cook approximately 12 to 14 hours, until thermometer reads 195F (90C). Keep light smoke (NO BURNING!) going for at least the first 3 or 5 hours, or to taste. You can take the shoulder out of the smoker after you're done with the smoke and wrap it well in foil (two layers), finishing the cooking process on a rack in a roasting pan in a very low (220F, 105C) preheated oven. I prefer to leave it in the smoker for the entire cooking time. When up to temperature, remove and allow to rest, covered lightly with foil, for around an hour. (If finishing in the oven, simply turn off the oven and crack open the door for the last hour, leaving it in the foil with the juices). Serve however you like.

            Notes:

            0) I use Cambro clear polycarbonate containers for brining (cambro.com), but large ziplock storage bags work well. If using ziplocks, place in a container in the fridge to catch leaks!

            1) My brine is just sea salt and water usually ("tastes like the sea"), but you can add bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice berries, a couple habaneros cut in half, onions, garlic, or whatever else floats your boat. Don't use that narsty "iodized table salt" unless you like metallic tasting pork.

            2a) This sounds like a long cooking time, and that temperature sounds well over-done ... but you need that to properly break down the connective tissue. Low and slow is a tried and true cooking technique for this kind of meat, it always turns out nice and juicy.

            2b)Some people prefer to cook to 185F, some take it to 205F, I've found the 195F compromise works well.

            3) When the internal temperature hits about 150F it'll probably stop increasing for a couple hours. Don't panic! This is normal. I won't go into why here (look up "smoker stall" if you care), but suffice to say it'll start to rise again eventually. The stall might not happen at all, and it might take 5 hours to come out of it, but relax. It's doing what it's supposed to be doing. Remember, this kind of cooking is always better the next day, so plan accordingly.

            4) It is safe to use the drippings for a sauce. Discard the solids, and skim off most of the fat first, though, or it'll be greasy. Save the fat for roasting potatoes.

            5) This method works for chicken and turkey, too ... pull from smoker at recommended roasting temperature.

            6) This kind of cooking is well suited to an electric smoker. Buy one that allows you to use any wood chips you like, avoid the ones that force you to purchase pellets or pucks from specific distributors. A built-in digital display for cooking temperature and a timer are useful, but hardly necessary. Also, I have never found bluetooth connectivity to be a help, but a separate quality two to four channel, non-WiFi remote thermometer is quite handy. Something like this is a good, solid unit that should last the home cook a couple decades. You're on your own for the thermometer.

      3. EBG

        quite logical

        it takes exactly twice the amount of 137-Cs to harm an American.

        They have twice the body weight

      4. jmch Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

        "...apparently Americans can eat Bavarian wild boars, it takes exactly twice the amount of 137-Cs to harm an American..."

        Probably because the average American is twice the mass of the average European??

    2. Richard Pennington 1

      Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

      There was a story a few months ago about a wild boar in one of the parks around Berlin, which stole a gentleman's laptop. He was caught on film rushing after the animal, trying to retrieve it ... minus clothes, as he was au naturel at the time.

      If the wild boars have taken to using laptops, then *something* is causing them to evolve more rapidly than usual.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Hold the f'ing panic!

        Mis-translation, Shirley.

        The boar was clearly taking the laptop, but not necessarily taken to using it.

  16. WereWoof
    Coat

    Oink

    So it would seem that the Wild Boar are the definition of a Nuclear family . . . . I`ll get my coat.

  17. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward Bronze badge

    Duke Nukem / Asterix crossover?

    Duke Nukem pig cops are very happy with this news.

    Obelix is saddened by this news.

  18. Steve Jackson

    I think Cesium-135 grates throughout.

    When does the US realise that “for those outside” “y’all just plain wrong, stoopid”?

    1. Spoobistle
      Facepalm

      you say tomato

      America doesn't do IUPAC.

      That's why I couldn't find caesium chloride in the Merck Index.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: you say tomato

        "America doesn't do IUPAC."

        I guess we should throw the IUPAC Secretariat out of North Carolina, then.

  19. sitta_europea Silver badge

    Let's not forget that every person on the planet contains enough potassium-40 to completely overwhelm the smidgin of radioactive caesium we're talking about here.

    A typical 70kg adult will contain about 4,000 Bequerels of K-40.

    Nothing you can do about it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium-40

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Alert

      > A typical 70kg adult will contain about 4,000 Bequerels of K-40.

      As in "disintegrations per second throughout the life of that person"! Big difference! If that was his instant radioactivity, he would be considered "high-level waste" and put in a spent fuel pool pending vitrification and long-term storage in a salt mine...

      (To make it more relatable, 1 Bq = one click/second on the Geiger counter...)

      1. sitta_europea Silver badge

        Not sure what the last reply was trying to convey, but for the avoidance of doubt yes, a typical human would give 4,000 clicks per second, every second of his life, on a 100% efficient whole-body counter which could catch the anti-neutrinos from the beta decays. Not a Geiger counter though, because we're talking here largely about beta decays and a Geiger counter wouldn't see most of them, and it would see exactly none of the neutrinos. It would see some of the gamma rays produced when the beta particles were absorbed by the body. You need to distinguish between a radioactive event and its detection. If the radiation is isotropic and the sensitive area of the detector subtends a small fraction of the surface of the notional sphere surrounding the, er, target, then a typical detector is only going to see a small fraction of the events - even if it is *both* sensitive to all the events which impinge upon it *and* 100% efficient, which it very probably won't be.

        But yes, that's 4,000 decays per second, every second, throughout his whole life. That's not "a lot", of course. Not even remotely high-level waste. I've routinely handled things that weigh a gramme and are a million times more active than that, and I've swallowed ten times more radioactivity in a single pill:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-14#In_the_human_body

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      A typical 70kg adult will contain about 4,000 Bequerels of K-40.

      Germany already has lots of food safety and other laws relating to that aspect. Also as K-40 bioaccumulates, it probably explains why some older women are hot.

      (Or one of those weird things about Rad-FUD. Anti-nuclear types are generally blissfully ignorant. All radiation is dangerous, exposure must be minimised, deadly Po-210 is in tobacco, but as that comes mostly from fertilisers, it's also in health freak's vegetables. I guess at some point, if lobbyists get to further regulate radiation exposure limits, we'll have to be buried as radioative waste and will be banned from sleeping closer than 3m from anyone.)

  20. RobDog

    Not good news for Obelix then.

    May the sky fall on on our heads!

  21. xyz Silver badge

    Please stop ffs....

    With this American crap of sticking an "S" on the end of plural words that stay singular.

    The plural of boar is boar not boars.

    The plural of aircraft is aircraft not aircrafts.

    The plural of deer is deer not deers.

    Etc.

    Drives me nuts.

    BTW, I fight boar with knives (well actually a short sword and a machete). The small ones are more uppity than the big ones, but it still takes bollox standing your ground when 90kgs of pissed off pig is coming at you.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Please stop ffs....

      > I fight boar with knives

      Me too, but I'm patient enough to wait till they are finished cooking.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Please stop ffs....

      Oh, goodie. Another boorish xenophobe. Is it just me, or is ElReg attracting these kiddies all of a sudden?

      The plural of boar can indeed be boars, at least according to my big dic. (OED, 2nd dead tree edition.)

      As a Yank, I can assure you that nobody uses "aircrafts" or "deers" over here. Perhaps your issue is a trifle more local?

      As for your hacking little baby pigs up with knives, WOW! What a man! Not that it has ever happened ... no adult would allow you to do such a thing. The release of stress hormones from the critter would make the meat virtually inedible, which would be both a shame and a waste.

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