Green nod for underground observatory in Tamil Nadu

New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) The central government Monday gave environment clearance to the setting up of a neutrino observatory in the Bodi West Hills reserved forest in Theni district of Tamil Nadu.

The clearance for the department of atomic energy (DAE) project was subject to the conditions that there would be no cutting of trees and damage to the forest cover, the ministry of environment and forests said Monday.

‘Measures will be taken to minimise the effect of tunnelling and to dispose rock debris and that the environmental management plan prepared by the Coimbatore-based Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) will be fully implemented,’ it said.

The underground neutrino observatory project would be executed by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and 20 other scientific institutions.

When completed in 2015, at an estimated cost of around Rs.1,000 crore (around $225 million), it will house the world’s biggest magnet.

The ministry had raised concern over the project’s earlier site at Singara in Tamil Nadu and the site was changed to the Bodi West Hills.

The neutrino observatory is an effort aimed at building a world-class underground facility to study fundamental issues in physics. The primary goal of the observatory is the study of neutrinos from various natural and laboratory sources.