‘Nutrino project will have no adverse impact’

The India-based Neutrino Observatory project to come up in Ambarappar hills in Pottipuram in Theni district will not have any adverse impact on the environment, said Vivek M. Datar, Project Director, INO.

Speaking to the media here on Saturday, he reiterated that the site was chosen because it provided a natural cover for eliminating the cosmic ray background from the neutrino detector, which was to be placed underground.

Refuting allegations by some activists that the laboratory could be used for storing nuclear waste, he said that having nuclear waste in the vicinity would defeat the very purpose of the experiment as the radiation would make the detection and study of neutrinos impossible.

On the water requirement for the project, he said that while roughly 5,000 litres would be used per day during the construction phase, the daily requirement once the lab became functioning would be a maximum of 3.4 lakh litres.

“That is roughly the requirement of just around 300 families a day. Moreover, the 3.4 lakh litre projection was made for our initial proposal of placing a 100 kilo tonne Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector. Since we are planning only a 50 kilo tonne detector now, the actual requirement will be significantly reduced,” he said.

Blasting of rocks

Regarding the blasting of rocks for tunnelling, he said that the noise would not be heard beyond a kilometre radius.

“As the tunnelling work goes deep inside the hill, the impact would be reduced much more,” he said.

Stating that there were several misconceptions about the project, he said that the project team had set up a mini-ICAL detector in Madurai, a prototype of the actual detector to come up in Theni.

“This will be used to educate people about the project,” he said.

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