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Latest Updates in Shorts: May 2nd 2023

Updates : Get the latest updates on NTPC and NPCIL’s nuclear power development deal, Finance Minister’s meeting with Asian Development Bank, record increase in domestic coal production, Padma Awards 2024 nominations, and geomagnetic pearl oscillations.

Stay up-to-date with the latest current affairs and updates as of 2nd May 2023. We’ve compiled the top news stories from various sectors, including energy, finance, and awards.

1. NTPC and NPCIL Agreement for Nuclear Power Development: Updates

NTPC Ltd. and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) have signed a Supplementary Joint Venture Agreement in New Delhi, India, for joint development of Nuclear Power Projects. The agreement was signed in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Power and the Department of Atomic Energy. The joint venture will initially develop two Pressurized Heavy-Water Reactor (PHWR) projects, Chutka Madhya Pradesh Atomic Power Project 2×700 MW and Mahi Banswara Rajasthan Atomic Power Project 4×700 MW, identified as a part of fleet mode nuclear projects. The Supplementary Joint Venture Agreement marks a pivotal step for NTPC Ltd. and NPCIL to collaborate and cooperate in the field of development of Nuclear Power projects, which shall help India in meeting its Clean Energy Commitments to achieve a net zero emission target by 2070.

2. Finance Minister Attends Asian Development Bank Meeting

The Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, is leading the Indian delegation to attend the 56th Annual General Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from May 2-5, 2023. The meetings will be attended by official delegations of ADB members, observers, non-governmental and civil society organisations, media, financial institutions and banks and other private sector companies. The engagements of Union Finance Minister will consist of Interaction with Global Economists, Governors / Finance Ministers of the ADB member countries etc., Bilateral engagements with countries and international organizations, interaction with global business leaders and investors in roundtables, and engagement with Community Diaspora. During the visit, Smt. Sitharaman will participate in annual meeting focal events like the Governors’ Business, and also as a panelist in the ADB Governors’ Seminar on ‘Policies to Support Asia’s Rebound’.

3. Record Increase in Domestic Coal Production

India’s coal production has set a new record for the highest production during the month of April 2023, achieving 73.02 Million Tonne (MT) of coal with a growth of 8.67% as compared to 67.20 MT during Apr’22. Coal India Ltd (CIL) reported a production of 57.57 MT in Apr’23 as compared to 53.47 MT in Apr’22, representing an increase of 7.67%. The Ministry of Coal has paved the way for releasing additional coal in the market by greater utilization of mining capacities of captive/private coal blocks which has led to increase in production of coal by 17.52 % to 9.88 MT (provisional fig.) in Apr’23 as compared to 8.41 MT in Apr’22. The total coal despatch has registered a growth of 11.76% from 71.99 MT in Apr’22 to 80.45 MT in Apr’23. The government has offered 103 coal/lignite blocks for auction under 7th round of auction and 29 agreements have been signed for mines which were auctioned in 6th round of auction. The cumulative PRC of 29 coal mines is 74 million tons per annum. The government’s initiatives to increase domestic production would lower dependence on imported coal and would result in considerable savings for the country.

4. Nominations for Padma Awards-2024 are open till 15th September, 2023

Nominations for Padma Awards 2024 are open from 1st May 2023. The last date for nominations is 15th September 2023. People can make online nominations/recommendations for these awards on the Rashtriya Puraskar Portal. The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian awards in India, namely Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. These awards were instituted in 1954 and are announced on Republic Day every year. These awards recognize distinguished and exceptional achievements/services in all fields/disciplines. The Awards are given in areas such as Art, Literature, Education, Sports, Medicine, Social Work, Science and Engineering, Public Affairs, Civil Service, Trade, and Industry. All people, regardless of their race, occupation, position, or sex, are eligible for these Awards, except government servants, including those working with PSUs, Doctors, and Scientists.

5. Geomagnetic pearl oscillations increase in the recovery phase of geomagnetic storms

The researchers have found a significant increase in the special continuous oscillations with pearl-type structures called Geomagnetic Pc1 pearl oscillations on the surface of the Earth during the recovery phase of geomagnetic storms. Geomagnetic storms cause a dent in the Earth’s magnetic field, which forms a protective shield around us. This dent in the magnetic field is responsible for changes in the plasma environment leading to the growth of low-frequency waves called Electromagnetic ion-cyclotron (EMIC) wave instability. These waves are seen as magnetic field oscillations called Pc1 pulsations. The Geomagnetic Pc1 pearl oscillations are narrow-band signals with an amplitude-modulated structure that are the signatures of low-frequency EMIC waves generated by resonant wave-particle interactions in the Earth’s magnetosphere. These pulsations are abundant in mid and high-latitude regions and are an important component of space weather in the near-Earth environment.

A team of scientists at IIG, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, along with different Indian and global organizations, investigated the long-term variability of these pulsations in connection to solar cycles 20-21 and the descending phase of solar cycle 24 from very low latitude regions of India. In the study published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, the researchers used 13 years of archived records covering solar cycle 20–21 from the equatorial site Choutuppal (CPL, L = 1.03) and 5 years of digital induction coil magnetometer data covering the descending phase of solar cycle 24 from the low latitude site Desalpar (DSP, L = 1.07) to investigate the structures of Pc1 waves. The morphological changes during quiet and active geomagnetic conditions were investigated, and the role of ionosphere in bringing the high-latitude EMIC wave to low latitude via ionosphere was modelled. This study can help understand the radiation hazard to satellites and astronauts and is significant for investigating precipitation particles during geomagnetic storms.

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