Published on: February 18, 2022



Malahide NEWS

Tamil Nadu has made it clear to the Supreme Court that it does not want the Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) to be set up in a sensitive ecological zone in the Western Ghats at a great cost to wildlife and biodiversity, and by ignoring the local opposition to the project.


  • Multi-institutional effort
  • Aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approx.1200 m
  • For non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India
  • Initial goal of INO is to study neutrinos
  • Jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST)


  • Construction of an underground laboratory and associated surface facilities at Pottipuram in Bodi West hills of Theni District of Tamil Nadu
  • Construction of an Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector for studying neutrinos
  • Setting up of National Centre for High Energy Physics at Madurai, for the operation and maintenance of the underground laboratory, human resource development and detector R&D along with its applications
  • Operation of INO will have no release of radioactive or toxic substances. It is not a weapons laboratory and will have no strategic or defence applications


Proton, neutron, and electron are tiny particles that make up atoms


  • Tiny elementary particle
  • Not part of the atom
  • Has a very tiny mass and no charge
  • Interacts very weakly with other matter particles
  • Come from the sun (solar neutrinos) and other stars, cosmic rays that come from beyond the solar system, and from the Big Bang from which our Universe originated
  • Can also be produced in the lab.
  • INO will study atmospheric neutrinos only
  • Solar neutrinos have much lower energy than the detector can detect.


  • Properties of the sun: The visible light is emitted from the surface of the sun and neutrinos, which travel close to the speed of light, are produced in the core of the sun. Studying these neutrinos can help us understand what goes on in the interior of the sun.
  • Constituents of the Universe: Light coming from distant stars can be studied by astronomers, for example, to detect new planets. Likewise, if the properties of neutrinos are understood better, they can be used in astronomy to discover what the universe is made up of.
  • Probing early Universe: Neutrinos interact very little with the matter around them, so they travel long distances uninterrupted. The extragalactic (originating outside the Milky Way galaxy) neutrinos we observe may be coming from the distant past. These undamaged messengers can give us a clue about the origin of the universe and the early stages of the infant universe, soon after the Big Bang.
  • Medical Imaging: Apart from direct future uses of neutrinos, there are technological applications of the detectors that will be used to study them. For instance, X-ray machines, MRI scans, etc., all came out of research into particle detectors. Hence the INO detectors may have applications in medical imaging.