The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project has been facing a barrage of questions from environmentalists, politicians and others ever since the project was cleared. What makes neutrinos come in the centre of such controversies?
1. Neutrinos are high energy particles which can be used to make weapons more dangerous than nuclear weapons
2. Human / animal interaction with neutrinos can cause severe health and environmental issues
Select the correct option from the codes given below:

Answer: [D] Neither 1 nor 2

Some correct statements about Neutrinos must be kept in mind:

  1. Neutrinos are seen to be of immense importance for communication, and future research may permit binary neutrino messages to be sent immense distances through even the densest materials, such as the Earth’s core.
  2. Neutrinos’ low mass and neutral charge mean they interact exceedingly weakly with other particles and fields. This feature of weak interaction interests scientists because it  means neutrinos can be used to probe environments that other radiation (such as light or radio waves) cannot penetrate.
  3. The current issue is mainly about artificially produced neutrinos. The neutrinos are produced artificially and then in order to receive neutrinos from neutrino factories all around the world they are setting up the magnetic This is being done in several countries.
  4. The concerns expressed are of human and environmental damage, mainly due to low energy neutrinos which they say can interact and harm. However, due to the weak interactions, it has been expressly said by scientists that they don’t harm humans. A human being can stand in the path of such a neutrino beam for his or her lifetime, say eighty years, and only one neutrino will perhaps interact with the body.
  5. It is not correct to say that naturally occurring neutrinos have only low Neutrinos coming from the atmosphere, such as cosmic rays have very high energies, just as the extragalactic neutrinos detected at the  IceCube experiment in the South Pole.
  6. So when we say we are being bombarded by neutrinos, it also includes neutrinos of high energies. In this sense, making the distinction between “natural” and “artificial” neutrinos is meaningless.
  7. Neutrinos may even play a role in maintaining peace. They can be used to monitor nuclear reactors to check if anyone is making away with stores of plutonium which can be used in making nuclear weapons. This is a part of ongoing research in France.

[The Hindu]

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module