India Based Neutrino Observatory (Important) (Download PDF)

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Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF’s) has given environmental clearance to India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project to be set up in Bodi West hills in Tamil Nadu. Neutrinos hold key to several imp. & fundamental questions on origin of Universe & energy production in stars.

Image of India Based Neutrino Observatory

Image of India Based Neutrino Observatory

Image of India Based Neutrino Observatory

Project Requires 2 Conditions:

While granting EC, committee stipulated specific conditions, of which 2 are key for project to take off.

  • Consent to establish & operate to be obtained from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).

  • INO team has to obtain necessary forest & National Board for Wild Life clearances as per law. Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district, Kerala, is situated w/i 5 km from project site.

What is INO Project?

  • India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project is multi-institutional effort aimed at building world-class underground laboratory w/rock cover of approx. 1200 m for non-accelerator based high energy & nuclear physics research in India.

  • Initial goal of INO is to study neutrinos.

  • It is mega-science project under XII 5-year plan of GoI w/investment of about 1350 cr. , jointly funded by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) & Department of Science & Technology (DST).

Project Includes:

  • Construction of underground laboratory & associated surface facilities at Pottipuram in Bodi West hills of Theni District of Tamil Nadu.

  • Construction of Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector for studying neutrinos.

  • Setting up of National Centre for High Energy Physics at Madurai, for operation & maintenance of underground laboratory, human resource development & detector R&D along w/its applications.

Benefits to Local People from this Project

  • Construction contract will specify that local labour should be used, based on skill levels, to max. extent possible.

  • Gainful employment will be there for small number of people by way of sourcing of services & daily needs for INO facility & for upkeep of buildings & landscapes.

  • Major benefit will be for schools & colleges in region as students interested in science can benefit from outreach activities as well as doing projects at lab.

What Are Neutrinos?

  • Neutrinos, 1st proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, are 2nd most widely occurring particle in universe, only 2nd to photons, particle which makes up light.

  • Neutrinos occur in 3 diff. types, or flavours.

  • These are separated in terms of diff. masses.

  • Neutrinos have tiny mass, but ordering of neutrino mass states is not known.

  • Neutrinos are by far most numerous of all particles in universe (other than photons of light) & so even tiny mass for neutrinos can enable them to have effect on evolution of Universe thru their gravitational effects.

  • In area of neutrino tomograph of earth, that is detailed investigation of structure of Earth from core onwards. This is possible w/neutrinos since they are only particles which can probe deep interiors of Earth.

Detected with Laboratory Situated in Underground

  • Neutrinos are notoriously difficult to detect in laboratory because of their extremely weak interaction w/matter.

  • Background from cosmic rays (which interact much more readily than neutrinos) & natural radioactivity will make it almost impossible to detect them on surface of Earth.

  • That’s why most neutrino observatories are located deep inside Earth’s surface.

  • Overburden provided by Earth matter is transparent to neutrinos whereas most background from cosmic rays is substantially reduced depending on depth at which detector is located.

- Published/Last Modified on: October 8, 2018

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