1. International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)


Why in News

Recently, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) celebrated the start of Assembly of the ITER Tokamak at Saint-Paul-Lez-Durance, France.

Key Points

Significance of the Event:

  • The Celebration was hosted virtually by the French President and all ITER member countries participated either in person, or electronically through remote mode.
  • India also participated in the celebrations and considered the global participation of scientists to project as a perfect illustration of the age-old Indian belief – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.


India’s Contribution:

  • India also mentioned about its fair share in terms of its contributions, viz., the cryostat, cryogenic and cryo-distribution systems, auxiliary heating devices, multi megawatt power supplies, etc.
  • ITER cryostat is manufactured by India (Larsen and Tourbo).
  • Cryostat is a chamber that can maintain very low temperatures. It is the largest stainless steel high-vacuum pressure chamber ever built (16,000 m ) providing the high vacuum, ultra cool environment for the ITER vacuum vessel and the superconducting magnets.


  • European Union (EU) is responsible for the largest portion of construction costs (45.6%); the remainder is shared equally by China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, USA including India (9.1% each).

Nuclear Reactions


  • A nuclear reaction is the process in which two nuclei, or a nucleus and an external subatomic particle, collide to produce one or more new nuclides. Thus, a nuclear reaction must cause a transformation of at least one nuclide to another.


Nuclear Fission:

  • The nucleus of an atom splits into two daughter nuclei. This decay can be natural spontaneous splitting by radioactive decay, or can actually be simulated in a lab by achieving necessary conditions (bombarding with neutrons, alpha particles, etc.).
  • The resulting fragments tend to have a combined mass which is less than the original. The missing mass is usually converted into nuclear
  • Currently all commercial nuclear reactors are based on nuclear fission.

Nuclear Fusion:

  • Nuclear Fusion is defined as the combining of two lighter nuclei into a heavier one.
  • Such nuclear fusion reactions are the source of energy in the Sun andother stars.
  • It takes considerable energy to force the nuclei to fuse.
  • The conditions needed for this process are extreme – millions of degrees of temperature and millions of pascals of pressure.
  • The hydrogen bomb is based on a thermonuclear fusion reaction. However, a nuclear bomb based on the fission of uranium or plutonium is placed at the core of the hydrogen bomb to provide initial energy.


International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor


  • International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is a collaboration of 35 nations launched in
  • It is located in


  • It aims to build the world’s largest tokamak to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy.
  • The tokamak is an experimental machine designed to harness the energy of fusion. Inside a tokamak, the energy produced through the fusion of atoms is absorbed as heat in the walls of the vessel.
  • Like a conventional power plant, a fusion power plant uses this heat to produce steam and then electricity by way of turbines and generators.



  • ITER will be the first fusion device to maintain fusion for long periods of time and also to test the integrated technologies, materials, and physics regimes necessary for the commercial production of fusion-based electricity.


  • The ITER members include China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.



  1. IM-iCREST: NITI Aayog

Why in News

Recently, the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has launched an incubator capabilities enhancement program ‘AIM-iCREST’.

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

Key Points

  • AIM-iCREST is an Incubator Capabilities Enhancement program for a Robust Ecosystem focused on creating high performing Startups.
  • It has been designed to act as a growth support for AIM’s Atal and Established Incubators across the country.
  • For the same, AIM has joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation – organizations that can lend credible support and expertise in the entrepreneurship and innovation space.
  • The AIM’s incubators are set to be upscaled and provided requisite support to foster the incubation enterprise economy, that will help them to significantly enhance their performance.
  • This will be complemented by providing training to entrepreneurs, through technology driven processes and platforms.
  • The focus will be on supporting start-up entrepreneurs in knowledge creation and dissemination as well as in developing robust and active

 AIM’s Atal and Established Incubators:

  • Business incubators are institutions that support entrepreneurs in developing their businesses, especially in initial stages.
  • Incubation is usually done by institutions which have experience in the business and technology world.

Atal Incubation Centres:

  • AIM intends to support the establishment of new incubation centres called Atal Incubation Centres (AICs) that would nurture innovative start-ups in their pursuit to become scalable and sustainable business enterprises.

Established Incubation Centres:

  • AIM envisages to upgrade these Established Incubation Centres (EICs) to world-class standards.

Atal Innovation Mission

  • AIM is Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • It’s objective is to develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of the economy, provide platform and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders, create awareness and create an umbrella structure to oversee the innovation ecosystem of the country.

Major Initiatives:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs: Creating problem solving mindset across schools in India.
  • Atal Incubation Centers: Fostering world class startups and adding a new dimension to the incubator model.
  • Atal New India Challenges: Fostering product innovations and aligning them to the needs of various sectors/ministries.
  • Mentor India Campaign: A national mentor network in collaboration with the public sector, corporates and institutions, to support all the initiatives of the mission.
  • Atal Community Innovation Center: To stimulate community centric innovation and ideas in the unserved /underserved regions of the country including Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
  • Atal Research and Innovation for Small Enterprises (ARISE): To stimulate innovation and research in the MSME industry


  1. Hiroshima Black Rain

Why in News

Recently, a district court of Hiroshima (Japan) has recognised 84 survivors of the post-nuclear explosion “black rain” as the atomic bomb survivors enabling them to avail benefits like free medical care.

Key Points

Nuclear Explosion:

  • In 1945, the USA dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively, which marked the end of World War II.
  • 2020 marks the 75 anniversary of the incident.
  • The explosion and resultant firestorms are believed to have killed around 80,000 people in Hiroshima and around 40,000 people in Nagasaki.

Black Rain:

  • The debris and soot from the destroyed buildings in Hiroshima (estimated 69% of the buildings was destroyed) mixed with the radioactive fallout from the bomb, rose high into the atmosphere in the form of a mushroom cloud.
  • This material combined with the vapour in the atmosphere and came down as dark drops of liquid that have been called black rain.
  • Survivors describe it as consisting of large, greasy drops that are much heavier than normal raindrops.
  • Nagasaki witnessed less black rain despite the fact that the nuclear bomb dropped on it was more powerful than Hiroshima’s.
  • It killed fewer people and its effects were confined to a smaller area because of Nagasaki’s geographical position between hills.
  • The blast did not produce firestorms and the material contributing to black rain was less.


  • Black rain is full of highly radioactive material and exposure to it can result in serious illnesses.
  • A study conducted in 1945 showed that black rain had come down as far as 29 km away from ground zero.
  • In relation to nuclear explosions and other large bombs, ground zero is the point on the Earth’s surface closest to a detonation.
  • In the case of an explosion above the ground, ground zero is the point on the ground directly below the nuclear detonation and is sometimes called the
  • The rain contaminated everything it came in contact Dead fish were reported floating in water bodies and severely ill cattle were seen lying in the fields.
  • Black rain caused Acute Radiation Symptoms (ARS) in many who were exposed to it.
  • These symptoms include nausea, diarrhoea, fever, sore throat and loss of hair.
  • Over time, many people who were exposed to black rain have developed cancer as well.


Addition to Survivors:

  • In 1976, Japan used a 1945 study to demarcate the area within which people could claim to have been affected by black rain and be recognized as survivors of the nuclear blast.
  • However, later studies have shown that black rain could have come down on an area nearly four times the size of the one demarcated by the
  • It was also argued that people who moved to the area later, could also be affected by the radioactive contamination caused by the rain.



  1. Tourism in Uttarakhand’s Border Villages

Why in News

Recently, the Central government has decided to boost tourism in Uttarakhand villages that border China.

Uttarakhand shares a 350-km border with China.

Key Points

  • In the backdrop of the Galwan Valley standoff, the Centre is planning to build a second line of defence in border villages of Uttarakhand by relaxing tourism related activities.
  • The Central government wants to make India’s border villages safe, for which it has mooted the concept of tribal tourism.
  • The first step in the direction will be to free some parts of Uttarakhand from the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system.
  • Once the ILP system is lifted, the state tourism department would encourage houses in the villages to be developed as homestays which will directly help the village economy.
  • Visitors in border villages would also get to taste tribal cuisine. The Uttarakhand government has also announced steps to improve critical infrastructure, promote tourism and civilian settlements in the border areas of the


  • It will ensure safety and surveillance of border villages and troops will get additional support.
  • It will boost the economy of bordering villages and provide employment.
  • It will also stop outward migration.
  • Most of the border villages see outward migration owing to a lack of livelihood opportunities.



  1. PLpro: Covid-19

Why in News

According to a new study on Covid-19, pharmacological inhibition of PLpro blocks virus replication and also strengthens immune response in humans.

Key Points

  • Usually, when a virus attacks human cells, the infected body cells release messenger substances known as ‘type 1 interferons’ which attract the killer cells in human bodies. These killer cells kill the infected cells and save humans from getting sick.
  • When the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) enters a human cell, it hijacks the cell mechanism and fights back by letting the human cell produce PLpro.
  • PLpro is a protein which suppresses the development of type 1 interferons. Due to which, killer cells are not informed about the
  • Hence, PL pro plays a crucial role in the replication of the virus.


Significance of the Research:

  • Researchers can now monitor these processes in a cell culture (artificial environment). By blocking PLpro, virus production can be controlled.
  • In the absence of the PLpro, type 1 interferons will be released informing the killer cells and thus, strengthening the innate immune response of the human cells.


  1. AJO-Neo : Device to Measure Neonatal Bilirubin Level

Why in News

Recently, researchers from the S.N. Bose National Centre For Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS), Kolkata have developed a device called “AJO-Neo ” to measure neonatal bilirubin level.


  • SNBNCBS is an autonomous research Institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

Key Points


  • AJO-Neo is a non-contact and non-invasive spectrometry-based technique for measurement of neonatal bilirubin level without limitations of other available bilirubin meters.
  • Bilirubin is a yellowish substance in the blood. It forms after red blood cells break down, and it travels through liver, gallbladder, and digestive tract before being excreted.
  • It is a necessary process in the body’s clearance of waste products that arise from the destruction of aged or abnormal red blood cells.


  • The screening of bilirubin level in new-borns is necessary to reduce incidents of a type of brain damage called kernicterus that can result from high levels of bilirubin in a baby’s blood. Kernicterus leads to Neuro-psychiatry problems in neonates.


  • It is reliable in measuring bilirubin levels in preterm, and term neonates irrespective of gestational or postnatal age, sex, risk factors, feeding behavior or skin color.
  • The device delivers an instantaneous report (about 10 seconds) to a concerned doctor.
  • The conventional “blood test” method takes more than 4 hours to generate the report.


  1. Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar

Why in News

The Government of India has invited nominations for the ‘Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar’.

Applications for the year 2021 would be accepted till 31 August 2020.

Key Points

Field Recognised:

  • The Government of India instituted Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskaar to recognise the excellent work done by the individuals and institutions in the field of disaster management.
  • Administered By: National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA -created by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act, 2005).
  • Award:
  • The awards are announced on the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on 23 January every year.
  • In addition to a certificate, these awards carry a cash award of Rs. 51 lakhs for an Institution and 5 lakhs for an Individual.
  • The Institution has to utilize the cash prize for Disaster Management related activities only.


  • Only Indian nationals and Indian institutions can apply for the award. The nominated individual or institution should have worked in any area of disaster management like Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Rescue,
  • Response, Relief, Rehabilitation, Research, Innovation or early warning in India.



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