Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 February 2023
North India's First Nuclear Power Plant
- Union Minister of State for Science and Technology informed that North India's first nuclear power plant will come up in Haryana in the village of Gorakhpur in Fatehabad district.
- Gorakhpur Haryana AnuVidyut Pariyojana (GHAVP) willhave two units of 700 MWe capacity each of PressurisedHeavy Water Reactor (PHWR).
- India’s 3-stage nuclear energyprogram, envisioned by HomiBhabha, is based on a closednuclear fuel cycle.
- Stage-I: PHWRs fuelled byNatural uranium would produceplutonium-239. Heavy water(D2O) is used as moderator andcoolant in PHWR.
- Stage-II: Fast Breeder Reactorsutilising plutonium- 239 fuelfrom first stage and formeduranium-238.
- Stage-III: Advanced nuclear power systems for utilisation of thorium.
Nuclear energy production in India:
- India is currently on second stage of program.
- India’s current nuclear power capacity of 6,780 MW is expected to increase to22,480 MW by 2031.
- Nuclear energy is fifth-largest source of electricity for India.
Steps taken to increase nuclear power output:
- Atomic Energy Amendment Act 2015 allow public-sector companies to formjoint ventures to build nuclear power plants.
- Resolution of issues relating to Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND)Act 2010 and establishment of an Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool.
AICTE approves technical curriculum to boost semiconductors manufacture and design
- The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has launched a curriculum for two new programmes on design and manufacturing in semiconductors.
- The program curriculum designed for the programme are B. Tech Electronics VLSI Design and Technology and Diploma in Integrated Circuit(IC) manufacturing.
- It provides variety of employment roles and salary incentives for students.
- VLSI (Very Large-Scale Integration) sector is a high-paying industry and immune to automation and it’ll create an environment forSemiconductor ecosystem for setting and scaling up.
- VLSI integrates hundreds of thousands of transistors on a single silicon semiconductor microchip.
- IC (also called chip or microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one smallflat piece (or chip) which acts as fundamental building block of all modernelectronic devices.
- Semiconductor chips are materials that conduct electricity more than aninsulator but less than a pure conductor.
- They can be classified into small number of categories including memorychips, microprocessors, and Integrated chips.
- Taiwan, South Korea and U.S. among others are major players ofchip-making industry.
- Currently, global semiconductor industry is valued at $500-$600 billion. InIndia, demand would increase to $70-$80 billion by 2026.
UN High Seas Treaty
- A new round of United Nations High Seas Treaty for conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) began in New York recently.
About United Nations High Seas Treaty:
- It is known as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean’, and the treaty to deal with Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdictionhas been under discussion for several years.
- The proposed treaty concerns the ocean existing beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) that lie from the coast of a country to about 200 nautical miles into the sea (Countries have special rights for exploration till 200 nautical miles).
- The treaty was to be negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982.
Key facts about the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
- UNCLOS became effective on 16th November 1982.
- It superseded the four Geneva Conventions of April 1958, which respectively concerned the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, the continental shelf, the high seas, fishing and conservation of living resources on the high seas.
G1-class Geomagnetic Storm
- Recently, Solar wind passed through a gapwhich occurred due to a crack in Earth's magnetic field sparking a G1-classgeomagnetic storm (GMS).
- Crack occurred due to South-pointingmagnetic fields weakening Earth'sdefenses against solar wind.
- GMS is a disturbance in earth’smagnetosphere, which is the area aroundplanet controlled by its magnetic field.
- Earth’s magnetosphere protects itsinhabitants from most of the particlesemitted by sun.
- It is caused by massive exchange of energyfrom solar wind into space environmentsurrounding the Earth.
- GMS are categorised between G1 and G5,the latter being the strongest.
Effect of GMS:
- Formation of bright red auroras.
- Disrupt navigation systems such as GlobalNavigation Satellite System (GNSS) andcreate harmful geomagnetic inducedcurrents (GICs) in power grid and pipelines.
- Damage satellite electronics and exposeastronauts and high-altitude pilots toincreased levels of radiationEconomy
Private Placements on bonds
- NHPC Limited has raised Rs 996 crore through unsecured, redeemable, non-convertible, non-cumulative and taxable 7.59 per cent AD series bonds on private placement basis.
- The bonds are proposed for listing at Wholesale Debt Market (WDM) segment of BSE and National Stock Exchange (NSE).
- A private placement is a sale of bonds to select investors and institutions instead of the open market.
- Typically, a private placement is defined as an issuance of securities to less than 50 persons.
- Investors in privately placed bonds usually include wealthy individuals and entities, mutual fund providers, insurance companies, and banking and financial institutions.
- Unlike a public offering, private placements are exempt from having to file an offer document with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for comments.
- A private placement may not involve any form of general announcement, solicitation, advertising, seminar, or meeting to publicize such an offering.
- It is a cost and time-effective method of raising funds.
- It can be structured to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and investors.
- It has easier compliance formalities.
::SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY::
Indigenous-Automatic Train Supervision
- The i-ATS (Indigenous-Automatic Train Supervision) system has been launched by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on its first corridor.
- India becomes the sixth country which has its own ATS products after France, Germany, Japan, Canada, and China.
About the i-ATS system:
- It is India’s first indigenously developed Train Control and Supervision System.
- It is a computer-based system that will manage train operations including basic functioning such as running and halting.
- The i-ATS has been jointly developed by the DMRC and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) under the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ initiatives for Metro Rail Transit Systems.
- It will reduce the metro’s dependence on foreign vendors for metro operations.
- The i-ATS technology has been developed to be flexible enough to work with different signaling vendors’ systems with suitable changes.
- The development of i-ATS is a huge step forward in CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) based signaling system for the metro railways since the ATS is an essential component of the CBTC signaling system.
- With the launch of i-ATS, India became the sixth country with its own ATS products after France, Germany, Japan, Canada, and China.