To study neutrino interaction, Govt approves project to build India-based INO

News Bharati    12-Jul-2019
New Delhi, Jul. 12: The Government of India has approved a project to build the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) at Pottipuram in Theni District of Tamil Nadu. Briefly, the project aims to set up a 51000 ton Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector to observe naturally occurring atmospheric neutrinos in a cavern at the end of an approximately 2 km long tunnel in a mountain.
A neutrino detector is a physics apparatus which is designed to study neutrinos. Because neutrinos only weakly interact with other particles of matter, neutrino detectors must be very large to detect a significant number of neutrinos. Neutrino detectors are often built underground to isolate the detector from cosmic rays and other background radiation.
This will help to reduce the noise from cosmic rays that are ever present over-ground and which would outnumber the rare neutrino interactions even in a detector as large as ICAL.
Neutrinos are harmless and not till long ago were considered mass-less. Billions of neutrinos pass through our body every second, without hurting an atom or a molecule in our body. Two Nobel Prizes have already been given to scientists for research on these neutrinos. The neutrinos are part of elementary particle shower in natural cosmic rays and to isolate them require special observatories where they are secluded from other radiation.
This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.
The INO project does not disturb the ecosystem around the site and does not release any radiation, as it does not have any radioactive substance. It measures cosmic rays.
There is no other neutrino detector anywhere in India at present. ICAL at INO would be the first of its type.