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Current Affairs

Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO)

Date: 22 February 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Tamil Nadu government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court to oppose the construction of the proposed Indian Neutrino Observatory in the state.

 

Background

The INO was supposed to be the first neutrino project in India. Recently, the NTCA had given approval for its construction.

 

Location

The project will be constructed deep underground in West Bodi hills of Tamil Nadu’s Theni district.

 

Opposition

  • It will affect local biodiversity and tiger species at the Periyar Tiger Reserve and the Mathikettan Shola National Park in the Western Ghats.

  • Construction activities like blasting, excavating, tunneling, and transportation, as well as safety and security measures around the facility, would affect tiger activity.

  • There are myths associated with radiation and neutrinos among locals.

  • The region is a vital link between Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala with Srivilliputhur Meghamalai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.

 

Importance of region

  • The region is also a watershed for countless streams, which nurtures livelihoods across five districts of Tamil Nadu.

  • Being an ecologically sensitive zone, the Western Ghats hosts flora and fauna, which can be adversely affected.

 

The INO

  • The Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a proposed particle physics research mega project in the country. It aims to study neutrinos in a 1,200-metre deep cave.

  • The project will be spearheaded by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Indian Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IIMSc). 

 

Underground nature

Neutrino detectors are often built underground to isolate them from cosmic rays from space and any other background radiation. 

 

Neutrinos

  • A neutrino is a fundamental elementary particle that plays an important role in physics.

  • They are very hard to detect as they do not interact with other forms of matter due to lack of electrical charge.

  • Neutrinos are usually produced in high-energy processes such as within stars and supernovae. They are produced by particle accelerators and nuclear power plants on earth.