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27th January Current Affairs

ONGC to map India’s geothermal resources in search of clean energy

(GS-I: Economic Geography)

In News:

ONGC plans to map the geothermal energy sources of India.


The focus on geothermal energy comes at a time when the country has set an ambitious climate target of 500 GW of installed renewable energy capacity and net zero carbon emission by 2070.

ONGC also has accelerated its diversification efforts through its ‘Energy Strategy 2040’.

About Geothermal Energy:

Geothermal energy is an energy source that is stored in the form of heat beneath the earth’s surface, which is clean, renewable, sustainable, carbon-free, continuous, uninterrupted, and environment-friendly.

It is the only renewable energy available 24×7 to mankind not requiring storage and unaffected by day-night or seasonality variance.

Geothermal resources in India have been mapped by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and a broad estimate by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) suggests that there could be 10 GW of geothermal power.

Types of Geothermal Power Plants:

There are three types of geothermal power plants where we can harness the heat of the earth to produce electricity.

Dry steam powerplant

Flash steam power plant

Binary cycle power plant

All these plants follow the same principle of using the heat of the earth to produce electricity. As flash steam power plant requires a high enthalpy range and hence they cannot be used in India.

Benefits of Geothermal Energy:


provides a continuous, uninterrupted supply


High initial capital requirement.

Location-specific energy source, associated with other emissions like sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide.

May cause disasters – earthquakes

Status of Geothermal Energy/Geothermal Powerplants in India:

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has established India’s first Geothermal field development project at Puga village in Ladakh.

Tata Power is India’s largest integrated power company. Tata Power will be setting up a geothermal plant in Gujarat of about 5MW plant.

National Thermal Power Corporation is planning to construct a 300MW of geothermal power plant project in Chhattisgarh.

Japan’s decision to flush Fukushima wastewater into the ocean

In News:

Japan is expected to start flushing 1.25 million tonnes of wastewater from the embattled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean this year, as part of its project to decommission the facility.

About Nuclear Power:

Nuclear power is electricity generated by power plants that derive their heat from fission in a nuclear reactor. Except for the reactor, which plays the role of a boiler in a fossil-fuel power plant, a nuclear power plant is similar to a large coal-fired power plant, with pumps, valves, steam generators, turbines, electric generators, condensers, and associated equipment.

What was the issue:

In March 2011, after a magnitude 9 earthquake, a tsunami flooded the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma and damaged its diesel generators. The loss of power suspended the coolant supply to reactors at the facility; the tsunami also disabled backup systems.

The water that the Japanese government wants to flush from the plant was used to cool the reactors, plus rainwater and groundwater. It contains radioactive isotopes from the damaged reactors and is thus itself radioactive.

Japan has said that it will release this water into the Pacific Ocean over the next 30 years.

Treated Water:

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima facility, has treated the water to remove most radioactive isotopes.

Japanese government required the water to have 1/40th as much tritium as the permitted limit.

Issues with discharging treated water into the Pacific Ocean:

Difficult to remove tritium from the water.

Tritium is easily absorbed by the bodies of living creatures and rapidly distributed via blood.

Other radionuclides include isotopes of ruthenium and plutonium, which could persist for longer in the bodies of marine creatures and on the seafloor and could not be completely removed.

Other options available with Japan:

Store the water for longer and then discharge it – This is because tritium’s half-life – the time it takes for its quantity to be halved through radioactive decay – is 12-13 years. The quantity of any other radioactive isotopes present in the water will also decrease at this time (each isotope has its own half-life). So at the time of discharge, the water could be less radioactive.

The Padma award is an honour for the Etikoppaka toy craft

In News:

An artist from Andhra Pradesh was conferred Padma Shri – for his work on Etikoppaka wooden toy craft which is also a GI-tagged product from the state.

About Etikoppaka toys:

The art of making traditional wooden Etikoppaka toys is more than 400 years old.

Also known as turned wood Lacquer craft.

The toys are unique in shape and form.

They are made of wood and painted with natural dyes.

The wood used is from the ‘Ankudi Karra’ (Wrightia tinctoria) tree which is soft.

The natural dyes are prepared from seeds, lacquer, bark, roots, and leaves.

Other GI products from Andhra Pradesh Kondapalli toys, Tirupati laddu, Bobbili Veena, Srikalahasthi Kalamkari, Uppada Jamdani sarees, and Shadow puppets.

India’s timely help ensured Sri Lanka’s economic survival during the crisis

In News:

Recently IMF has confirmed receiving India’s written financing assurance in support of Sri Lanka’s economic revival.

The economic crisis in Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka is grappling with a shortage of foreign currency, higher inflation and a steep recession – the worst such crisis since its independence from Britain in 1948.

  • India, China and Japan are Sri Lanka’s three largest bilateral creditors
  • Sri Lanka has an overall debt of around 52bn US dollars (nearly 40% is owed to private creditors, of the rest 60% is owned to bilateral partners: China owns 52%, Japan (19%) and India (12%)).

The recovery plan:

Previously experts in Sri Lanka had asked lenders (creditors) to take a ‘Haircut’ on their lending. However, as per the new plan, none of the official lenders would take a haircut while giving Sri Lanka time to recover with an IMF programme. But private creditors, who hold the largest chunk of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt, may have to take a haircut.

What is a Haircut?

When a bank or creditor country takes a ‘haircut’, it means it accepts less than what was due in a particular loan account. For example: if a bank was owed Rs 10,000 cr by a borrower and it agrees to take back only Rs 8,000 cr, it takes a 20% haircut.