Indian Neutrino Observatory: Latest Developments

IAS Prelims 2023

The Government intends to set up the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) in West Bodi Hills, Theni District of Tamil Nadu. The project is awaiting a clearance from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

The project is held up because of the long overdue Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) clearance. Presently the TNPCB has formed a committee of experts to advise it for further course of action.

At present, there is no proposal to shift the location of INO.

There are two PILs, one in the Madurai bench of the Madras High court by Mr. Vaiko and another in the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern zone, Chennai by Mr. G. Sunderrajan.

The High Court has passed an interim order restraining commencement of the research work of the project, without getting necessary clearance from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. The TN PCB clearance was applied for on 22-5-2015 and is still awaited.

A few days back TN PCB has formed an expert committee to look into the matter. As for the NGT case, TN PCB did not respond for a long time leading to postponements. The NGT case has had a ruling by the judge that the Environmental Clearance issued by MoEF is in abeyance and a fresh application has to be made by INO.

India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a particle physics research project under construction to primarily study atmospheric neutrinos in a 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) deep cave under Ino Peak near Theni, Tamil Nadu, India. The project is a multi-institute collaboration and one of the biggest experimental particle physics projects undertaken in India.

When completed, the main magnetised iron calorimieter (ICAL) experiment include the world’s most massive magnet, four times larger than the 12,500-tonne magnet in the Compact Muon Solenoid detector at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.