UPSC Prelims News of 23 December 2022
TVS-2M Nuclear Fuel
Context: Russian State-owned nuclear energy corporation (Rosatom) has offered a more advanced TVS-2M type fuel to the Kudankulam Nuclear power plant.
More on the News:
- The first batch of TVS-2M fuel assemblies were loaded in Unit one and they are performing satisfactorily.
- The TVS-2M contain gadolinium-oxide which is mixed with U-235 enrichments. However, the core does not contain BARs (Burnable Absorbers Rods).
- Efficiency: TVS-2M fuel assemblies in KKNPP reactors will ensure 18-month operating cycles as against a 12-month operating cycle with UTVS Fuel Assemblies.
- The efficiency of a plant will increase as reactors have to undergo stoppage and refueling less frequently, producing more electricity.
- Reduced cost: The plant needs to buy less fuel as operating cycles are more, thereby saving cost.
- Higher uranium: The new fuel contains more uranium, with one TVS-2 M assembly containing 7.6% more fuel material than that of UTVS.
- Rigidity: Because of the welded frame of the new fuel bundle, the fuel assemblies in the reactor core retain their geometry. This makes them more vibration resistant.
- Anti–Debris Filter (ADF): The fuel bundles contain anti-debris filter ADF-2, that protects bundles from debris damage, which may be caused by small-size objects in the reactor core.
Annual Dolphin Census
Context: Annual dolphin census has begun in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika national park and Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.
More on the News:
- The survey exercise has been conducted using the ‘Transact Survey Method’.
- The Odisha coast has emerged as an ideal habitat for dolphins with a rise of 33% in their population in the last few years.
- Irrawaddy, Bottlenose, Humpback, Striped, Finless and Spinner were the dolphin species recorded last time.
Bhitarkanika National Park:
- Bhitarkanika is second largest mangrove ecosystem in India after the Sunderbans.
- The National park is made up of a network of creeks and canals which are inundated with waters from rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra and Patasala.
- The park is home to the largest population of the endangered Salt Water Crocodile in the country.
- Bagagahana or the heronry near Surajpore creek is another unique feature of the national park.
Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary:
- Gahirmatha marine sanctuary hosts the world’s largest nesting beach for Olive Ridley Turtles.
- It extends from Dhamra river mouth in the north to Brahmani river mouth in the south.
Olive Ridley Turtles:
- They are the second-smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world. They are primarily found in the warm and tropical waters of Pacific and Indian Oceans, but can also be found in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean
Dokra Metal Craft
Context: Lalbazar is emerging as an art hub and moving towards becoming a centre for Dokra, a metalcraft popular in West Bengal.
About Dokra Art:
- It is an ancient craft of metal casting through the hollow wax method, and is believed to be over 4,000 years old.
- The craft is believed to have originated from Chota Nagpur in neighboring Jharkhand state several centuries ago.
- Its documented history is about 5,000 years old.
- The dancing girl of Mohenjo Daro is believed to be one of the earliest artifacts of Dokra.
Government Support to Dokra Art Promotion:
- A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the state government and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2013 enabled the formation of rural craft hubs (RCH).
- The hubs, based on an UNESCO-endorsed model called ‘Art for Life’, were started at 10 craft locations, including in Bikna in 2014.
- Lalbazar, also known as Khwaabgram (‘village of dreams’), is located about 4 km from Jhargram and is peopled by members of the Lodha tribe, once outlawed by the British.
NASA’s InSight Mars Lander
Context: NASA has bid farewell to the InSight lander that spent four years probing Mars’ interior.
About NASA’s InSight Mars lander:
- InSight was one of four missions currently on the Red Planet — along with the US rovers Perseverance and Curiosity and China’s Zhurong.
- InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.
- It was a part of the NASA’s Discovery Program and landed on Mars in November 2018.
- Purpose of the lander:
- It was the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth.
- It uses the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior.
- Significant achievements of the lander:
- Based on the lander’s seismic observations scientists were able to confirm that the core of Mars is liquid and to determine the thickness of the Martian crust — less dense than previously thought and likely consisting of three layers.
- The lander yielded details about the weather on Mars and lots of quake activity.