PIONEER CURRENT AFFAIRS
- China launches Gaofen-3 high-resolution radar imaging satellite
China has successfully launched a new high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) dubbed as Gaofen-3. It was launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province on the back of a Long March 4C rocket. It was 233rd flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket. The Gaofen-3 satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), under guidance of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CATC).
The Gaofen-3 satellite is China’s first low orbit remote sensing satellite. It has lifespan of eight years. It will provide high-definition remote sensing data for its users over long periods of time.
It has 12 imaging modes that will provide high-definition observation satellite is capable of taking wide pictures of earth and photographing detailed scenarios of specific areas.
The Gaofen-3 satellite is China’s first SAR imaging satellite. It is accurate to one meter in distance and covers the globe with an all-weather 24-hour observation service.
It will be used for disaster warning, water resource assessments, weather forecasting and the protection of maritime rights.
- CCEA gives nod to development of AUSC technology for thermal power plants
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CEEA) has given its approval for the development of Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) technology for thermal power plants. In this regard, CCEA has approved a one-time grant of 900 crore rupees spread over three years for an R&D project for the development of AUSC technology for thermal power plants. The project was proposed by a consortium of three government entities to reduce coal consumption as well as Carbon di-oxide (CO2) emission. They are Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research (IGCAR) National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
AUSC technology will enable Indian industries to design, manufacture and commission higher efficiency coal-fired power plants with indigenously developed technology.
This will be the first time large power plant equipment will be manufactured without any technological collaboration or licensing agreement with foreign companies.
Use of this technology in all future large coal-fired power plants will ensure energy security for the country for a longer period as well as greener environment.
- Unit I of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project dedicated to nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin dedicated the first unit of the ambitious Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu to the nation. KKNPP was dedicated by the leaders through video conferencing from Delhi and Moscow. It has India’s single largest nuclear generation unit with capacity of 1000 megawatt (MW)
The KKNPP is located in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, around 650 km from Chennai. It is built under India-Russian Nuclear agreement of 1988.
KKNPP is India’s nuclear power plant to use imported PWR technology. It has VVER (Water-Water Energetic Reactor) type light water reactors.
The reactors are built by the NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India) and Russia’s Atomstroyexport Company, a subsidiary of Rosatom.
The Unit I of the KKNPP is already in service since December 2014 and was connected to the southern grid in October 2013.
The first unit till now more than 10,800 million units of power and the plant had attained criticality in July 2013 The Unit II (1000 MW capactity) of the KKNPP had achieved criticality in July 2016 will begin power production by end of August 2016.
Besides, preliminary works are also going on for the construction of third and fourth reactors with Russian technical expertise. KKNPP has enhanced safety features which were incorporated in the water cooled, water moderated reactor complex after the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan.
- Union Government constitutes Amitabh Kant committee to review e-commerce rules
The Union Government has decided to set up a committee to look at easing the policy regime for e-commerce players, including the rules for foreign direct investment (FDI). The committee will be headed by Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog. The other members in the panel will include officials from Union Commerce Ministry and Industry and Department of electronics and IT among others. Representatives from four states including Maharashtra and Karnataka will also be the members of the committee.
The terms of reference of the Committee
Examine various issues in e-commerce sector and making recommendations for further liberalisation of the policy. Look into all issues including FDI norms pertaining to the fast growing e-commerce industry in the country.
There are issues related to e-commerce players selling pharmaceuticals and some e-commerce firms are facing taxation related problems in few states.
Setting up of this committee assumes significance as the Union Government recently had permitted 100 per cent FDI in food processing sector. \The DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) has permitted 100 per cent FDI through automatic route in the marketplace format. But FDI has not been allowed in inventory-based model of e-commerce.
- Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin wins men’s 200m breaststroke at Rio Olympics.
Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin on 10 August 2016 won gold medal in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke final. It is Balandin’s first Olympic medal.
With Balandin’s win comes Kazakhstan’s second gold medal of the 2016 Olympics. It is the country’s first-ever medal in a swimming event.
United States’ Joshua Prenot won the silver in the 200-meter breaststroke and Anton Chupkov of Russia finished third, securing the bronze.
Who is Dmitriy Balandin?
- Dmitriy Balandin is a Kazakhstani swimmer.
- He specializes in breaststroke events.
- At present, he holds two Kazakh records in the 100 and 200 m breaststroke.
- He set a historic milestone for his nation by striking the breaststroke triple at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea
- NITI Aayog ties up with US EIA to set up portal on energy data.
National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog on 10 August 2016 signed agreement with United States (US) Energy Information Administration (EIA) to set up web portal on energy data.
The web portal will host all the data related to energy sector including oil & gas, coal, solar & thermal energy etc. NITI Aayog, a think tank of Union Government, is working to develop India’s energy data agency which will take 3-4 years to develop.
Agreement with USAID & UK
Niti Aayog also signed Statement Of Principle (SOP) with US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) of United Kingdom (UK) for collaboration in the area of energy research.
Through this agreement, the Aayog aims to host all the data related to energy sector in the country including oil and gas, coal, solar and thermal energy, much on the lines of the Energy Information Administration of US.
- Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant dedicated to nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on 10 August 2016 dedicated Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant to the nation.
Besides, PM Modi announced that five more reactors of 1000 megawatt each will come up in the same location.
About Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant
- The reactors are being built jointly by Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Atomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom (the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex).
- The power plant is updated with most modern Russian technologies.
- The first reactor of the plant attained criticality on 13 July 2013 at 11:05 P.M.
- KKNPP was first synchronised to grid at 2:45 A.M. on 22 October 2013. Power generation from first nuclear reactor started on the same day.
- Unit 1 was operating at 73% capacity by April 2014.
- Unit 1 attained its maximum capacity of 1000 MWe at 1:20 P.M. on 7 June 2014.
- It started commercial operation from 31 December 2014.
- Almost 85 per cent of the funding of the project has come from the State loan of the Russian Federation.