Neutrinos Research in India – UPSC GS3

Neutrinos are second most widely occurring particle in universe, and found in three forms (e, mu and tau). It is charge less, thereby enabling it to travel through planets, stars, rocks, human bodies without any interaction; and this characteristic has opened new domains for humanity.

  1. Geological: help in detection of oil and mineral deposits (meeting energy security), unraveling tomography of early geological defects (early warning system from any seismic activity).
  2. Data Transmission: to send data seamlessly without any transmission loss.
  3. Medical field: detection of particle traversing human body and detection of abnormalities (cancer detection)
  4. Nuclear-terrorism: can prevent pilferage of nuclear fuels by early detection.
  5. Great significance for India, will enable to regain our superiority in neutrino research, boost science and technology and above all will be a national pride.
However, installation of INO at Bodi West hills region of Theni district attracted controversies, mainly being
  1. Ecological concerns: Risks to buffer zone of Mudumalai, Idukki forests and nearby animals, risk to Mullaperiyar dam due to rock blasts and its mutagenic properties. But IISc have clearly mentioned this will not affect nearby forests as well as careful environmental impact study have been done allaying any risk to dam. Also, neutrino has no mutagenic properties.
  2. Accusations of secrecy and lack of transparency (was earlier considered a part of US Fermi lab’s project). But it has been cleared that it’s totally indigenous.
  3. Mistake of considering Neutrino as neutron and try to link up with neutron bomb GOI have cleared this initiative, and in years to come India will be utilizing and capitalizing on its immense potential.
Critically examine the uses of understanding of neutrinos, and significance of its research for India. Also critically comment why set-up of neutrino research facility in India is being opposed. (200 Words)



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