The Time the U.S. Exploded Atomic Bombs Near Beers To See If They Were Safe To Drink



So, you're minding your own business when all of a sudden a nuclear bomb goes off. There's a shock wave, fires all around, general destruction, and you — having somehow survived — need a drink. What do you do? There's no running water, but there's a convenience store. Oh wait, it's been crushed by the shock wave. Wait, there are bottles of beer on the floor that have survived. So you wonder: "Can I grab one of those beers and gulp it down, or is it too radioactive?” Well, wonder no longer. In 1957, the U.S. government conducted a study — called “Operation Teapot” — to test the effect of nuclear explosions on commercially packaged beverages. Two bombs were exploded at a test side in Nevada, with bottles and cans of beer carefully placed at various distances from ground zero. While there were some bottles shattered by flying debris, a surprising number stayed intact. As for the radiation, the bottles closest to ground zero were radioactive, though only mildly so. Exposure, the experts said, did not carry over to the contents and the beer was well within the permissible limits for emergency use. What does that mean? It means if there’s a nuclear explosion and you can make it to the store, you can drink.