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Here are the topics covered for 25 September 2023:India, UN launches global capacity building initiative,The Fukushima N-wastewater controversy,NASA’s first asteroid samples from deep space land on Earth,India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor,Galactic tides,US Space Force rocket punched a hole in Earth’s ionosphere
Table of Content
- India, UN launches global capacity building initiative.
- The Fukushima N-wastewater controversy
- NASA’s first asteroid samples from deep space land on Earth
- India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor
Facts for Prelims
- Galactic tides
- US Space Force rocket punched a hole in Earth’s ionosphere
India, UN launches global capacity building initiative.
- India and the United Nations have launched a joint capacity-building initiative that will operationalise development-relevant deliverables of India’s G20 presidency.
- It was announced at the event ‘India-UN for the global south-delivering for development’.
- This initiative will be a significant contribution to global efforts towards accelerating momentum for achieving sustainable development goals by strengthening south-south cooperation and reflects India’s continuing efforts to strengthen its development partnership with the global south.
- This initiative aims to share India’s development experiences, best practices and expertise with partner countries.
- As part of this initiative, the UN-India team and the Bill & MeIndia Gates Foundation will ‘partner to leverage India’s technical and economic cooperation platform.
- It also complements the India-UN partnership in the form of India un development partnership fund which has developed a portfolio of 75 development projects in 61 countries in 6 years.
The joint capacity-building initiative launched by India and the United Nations marks a significant step towards operationalizing the development goals of India’s G20 presidency.
The Fukushima N-wastewater controversy
- Recently Japan’s government announced plans to release over one million tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea over the next 30 years.
- The wastewater is a byproduct of the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which disabled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leading to the release of radioactive materials.
How is the water being treated?
- The water is been treated with multiple techniques, notably the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), which removes 62 types of radioactive materials. However, it doesn’t remove tritium.
Is the water safe?
- the levels of radiation in the wastewater are not so high as to cause panic, there is evidence showing that exposure to radiation, even at low levels, can harm the health of humans and the environment.
- Tritium is easily absorbed by the bodies of living creatures when it is in the form of tritiated water, and rapidly distributed throughout bodies via blood. Since tritiated water can pass through the placenta, it could lead to developmental effects in babies when ingested by pregnant women.
- A key factor for Japan in maintaining relations with South Korea in particular, has been transparency over the treatment and release process. South Korea’s government, following repeated consolation by the IAEA, has told people that the water and the seafood are safe.
- Japan will release the treated wastewater over the next 30 years and will continue to monitor the seawater’s radiation.
- The government is also setting aside 80 billion yen to compensate fishers who will lose business because of public fears.
- The government is looking to revive the country’s nuclear power plant industry, with the hopes to stabilise the energy sector.
- Before the 2011 earthquake, 30% of Japan’s electricity needs were met via nuclear reactors. In March, less than 10% of Japan’s power came from these facilities.
NASA’s first asteroid samples from deep space land on Earth
- NASA’s first asteroid samples fetched from deep space parachuted into the Utah desert.
- In a flyby of Earth, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft released the sample capsule from 100,000 kilometres out.
- Scientists estimate the capsule holds at least a cup of rubble from the carbon-rich asteroid known as Bennu.
Why studying asteroids is important?
- The pebbles and dust delivered represent the biggest haul from beyond the moon. Preserved building blocks from the dawn of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago, the samples will help scientists better understand how Earth and life formed.
- Osiris-Rex, the mothership, rocketed away on the $1 billion mission in 2016. It reached Bennu two years later and, using a long stick vacuum, grabbed rubble from the small roundish space rock in 2020.
- Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun, primarily found in the inner solar system. They are remnants from the early formation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Most asteroids are located in the asteroid belt, which is a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Asteroids are classified into different groups based on their composition, location, and other characteristics.
- C-type asteroids: These are carbonaceous asteroids and are the most common. They are dark in colour and are thought to be rich in carbon compounds and water.
- S-type asteroids: These are silicaceous asteroids and are made up of metallic nickel and iron mixed with silicates. They are brighter and more reflective than C-types.
- M-type asteroids: These are metallic asteroids primarily composed of nickel and iron. They are often found in the inner regions of the asteroid belt.
The new economic corridor will drive world trade
- Indian PM recently hailed the proposed India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor saying “It is going to become the basis of world trade for hundreds of years to come, and history will always remember that this corridor was initiated on Indian soil”.
- The plan for the multimodal transport and energy corridor between India and Europe via the Middle East was announced at the recently concluded G20 summit.
India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC):
- Transcontinental Connectivity: Connects Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe via rail and shipping routes.
- Key Corridors:
- East Corridor: Links India to the Arabian Gulf.
- North Corridor: Connects the Arabian Gulf to Europe.
- Multi-Nation Collaboration: MoU signed by Saudi Arabia, EU, India, UAE, France, Germany, Italy, and the US.
- Railway Projects: Focus on creating a reliable, cost-effective ship-to-rail transit network. Supplements existing maritime and road transport routes.
- Trade Network Expansion: Facilitates transit of goods and services between India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe.
IMEC aims to:
- Drive economic growth and attract new investments.
- Foster connectivity between Asia and Europe’s commercial hubs.
- Promote clean energy development and exports.
- Enhance trade, manufacturing, and food security.
- Expand access to electricity and the Internet through undersea cables.
- IMEC is expected to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, enhance economic unity, generate jobs, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
- This offers India the opportunity to create green hydrogen and green ammonia hubs near the coasts and supply the commodities via shipping and rail networks to the Middle East and eventually Europe.
- The corridor will make India’s export deliverables more efficient and cost-effective thereby adding to their competitiveness.
Facts for Prelims
- The universe’s galaxies also experience tides but on a much larger scale. Galactic tides are caused by gravitational forces within a galaxy, arising in the interactions between celestial objects such as stars and gas clouds.
- These tidal forces influence various aspects of a galaxy’s evolution. They can reshape a galaxy’s structure by creating tidal tails and bridges, promoting star formation, and disrupting smaller star systems.
- Over aeons, galactic tides also disrupt the orbits of stars, leading to long-term changes in galactic structure. Galactic tides also have a say in the ways in which proximate galaxies do and don’t interact.
- In fact, researchers have observed the closest galaxy to the Milky Way, the colossal Andromeda, and found that tidal streams near its edges could be signatures of dwarf galaxies that were later devoured. The Andromeda galaxy is heading towards the Milky Way at 110 km/s and will collide in four billion years.
- Galactic tides also affect the supermassive black holes at galaxy centres, leading to events that change the ways in which these cosmic beasts interact with nearby stars.
US Space Force rocket punched a hole in Earth’s ionosphere
- A rocket carrying a US Space Force satellite left a temporary red glow in the sky after the launch, indicating that it likely punched a hole in Earth’s ionosphere.
- The rocket was launched by Firefly Aerospace from California.
- The ionosphere refers to a series of regions in our planet’s atmosphere that contains electrically charged molecules and atoms.
- It plays an important role in communications and navigation systems since radio and GPS signals either travel through it or bounce off it to reach their destination, according to NASA. Changes in the ionosphere’s composition and density can disrupt signals in both cases.
- Rocket engines spray water and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, reducing local ionisation by as much as 70 per cent. Sometimes, this is followed by a series of complicated reactions that produce a certain red light.