Neutrino project to get clearances despite protests


Chennai : Despite opposition from local people, the Rs.960-crore neutrino observatory project in Theni district of Tamil Nadu will get necessary regulatory clearances, Department of Atomic Energy Secretary Srikumar Banerjee said Friday.

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“We are in the process of getting the necessary clearances. The neutrino observatory is a high energy particle project of 11th Plan. Institutions like Tata Institute of Fundamental Research are taking in people to train working in neutrino observatory,” said Banerjee, who is also chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a particle physics research project to study atmospheric neutrinos in a 1.3 km-deep cave to be carved out of hills. The project is expected to provide exact measurement of neutrino mixing parameters.

Neutrinos are one of the fundamental particles which make up the universe. They are also one of the least understood.

Banerjee told reporters that awareness camps were being held to dispel the fears of local people about the project and one such camp was held three weeks back.

The people in Theni, near Madurai, are concerned about the impact on the environment when tonnes of mud would be dug out and the rocks are blasted for building the tunnel. They fear that the project will affect their livelihood.

Banerjee was here to inaugurate the new super computer Annapurna installed at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, a national institution on fundamental research in mathematics and physical sciences.