118 years of trust


Chandigarh, Thursday, August 27, 1998

 

Amazing 1520 MW power units!
by Jagvir Goyal
COMING to the use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes, there cannot be a better example than the Civaux Power plant in Vienne, France, consisting of two units of 1520 MW each. Almost equal to 75% of the total power generation capacity of Punjab, the power plant has been completed and commissioned just recently. An amazing feat indeed !

Sound of space & satellite safety
by Dinesh Pal Singh
STRETCH a 1 inch thick, some 22 yard long copper wire on the roof of a triple-storey building, connect its middle point to another thin copper wire and then connect the other end of the thin wire to your tape recorder. A third wire connected with the tape recorder is earthed. Do some recording and then hear the recorded tape. You may hear some amusing sounds

Cybersurfing with Amar Chandel
A search engine called jadoo
India now has a search engine of its very own. http://www.jadoo.com is touted as the first “official” search engine and brings together much information about India. Business, news, forex rates, festivals, latest movies (and their reviews), recipes… you can have your pick. The service is clearly modelled after Yahoo.

NEW PRODUCTS & DISCOVERIES

Science Quiz
by J. P. Garg

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Amazing 1520 MW power units!
by Jagvir Goyal

COMING to the use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes, there cannot be a better example than the Civaux Power plant in Vienne, France, consisting of two units of 1520 MW each. Almost equal to 75% of the total power generation capacity of Punjab, the power plant has been completed and commissioned just recently. An amazing feat indeed !

Many power plants, may be hydro, thermal or nuclear are dotting Indian map but no single unit is of more than 500 MW capacity. A 1500 MW unit has never been heard or thought of in India. Now the Civaux Plant of France could serve as an eyeopener with new possibilities in the offing !

Civaux nuclear power plant has quite economical features. The reactor pressure vessel of Civaux Power Plant has an external diameter of just 4.95 M with wall thickness of 230 mm only. Its weight, when empty is 462 tonnes. It is designed for a maximum thermal power of 4270 MW with gross electrical output of 1520 MW. The steam generator has a height of 21.90 M with external diameter of upper part as 4.76 M and lower part as 3.70 M. It weighs 405 tonne when empty. The turbine building is 106 M long and 60 M wide with a height of 47.70 M. The T.G. foundation consisted of 1800 cubic metres of concrete and was poured non stop over a period of 36 hours. The Turbogenerator (TG) has a weight of 3143 tonne with shaft length of 67.8 M and set speed of 1500 r.p.m.

The most fascinating part is the cooling tower. I have been taking pride in constructing cooling towers of 90 metre base diameter, 120 metre height and designed to cool 30 million litres of water per hour over a range of 10C. The cooling tower constructed for Civaux power plant has a base diameter of 155 M, a height of 178 metres and it can cool down 174 million litres of water per hour by 13.5C. Having parameters just one and a half times, this cooling tower can cool a six-fold water discharge. What a wonderful superstructure and how economical !

A continuous surveillance of the environment in the vicinity of Civaux nuclear power plant is being ensured through regular testing of land and water ecosystems. The parameters being controlled are physical and chemical testing of water, ecological radiation control of the atmosphere, rise in temperature of water of Vienne river and the maximum noise levels. It is being ensured that the temperature rise in Vienne river is not more than 3C with a maximum limit of 25C so that the aquatic animals and plants are not affected. The main sources of permanent noise such as cooling towers and turbine — generator set have been so planned that the noise level at the nearest houses is 40 decibels only against the normal noise level of 50 decibels during the blowing of wind through tree branches. A full environmental radio activity programme has been chalked out to ensure radiation protection.

It is believed that our body consists of five elements. In the present times, electricity can safely be added as the sixth “element” as it is not possible to live without it. Power plants like Civaux in Vienne, France, are producing 25 billion units in a year bringing peak level prosperity to that region. Let us follow suit. There cannot be a better deal for economic development and employment generation provided we maintain equal level of environmental surveillance.

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Sound of space & satellite safety
by Dinesh Pal Singh

STRETCH a 1 inch thick, some 22 yard long copper wire on the roof of a triple-storey building, connect its middle point to another thin copper wire and then connect the other end of the thin wire to your tape recorder. A third wire connected with the tape recorder is earthed. Do some recording and then hear the recorded tape. You may hear some amusing sounds of three types: one as if a referee of a match is whistling, second one like the whistling by a naughty child and third like the hissing by a snake. These sounds are called sound of space, scientifically known as falling whistlers (pitch of sound going on decreasing), rising whistlers (pitch of sound going on increasing) and hisslers (having constant pitch) (Fig. 1). Actually these are electromagnetic (EM) signals with frequency 1 to 30 KHz (VLF waves) having their generation in lightning discharges (or thundering) in our opposite hemisphere. These EM signals take the path of the field lines of our earth’s magnetic field, go higher in space and then reach the opposite hemisphere. These are the only signals which have transmission source in one hemisphere and receiver location in opposite hemisphere. No other signals (such as TV, Radio etc) can show this virtue.

As we have read in an article published in Science Tribune (Oct. 16, 1997, “Space storm threat to satellites” by Sharon Gerein) charged particles detached from solar wind are posing a threat to our satellites. The nightmare of the year 2000 which will be caused by solar flares during “Sun Spot Maximum” sends indication for very bad damage to the satellites. The event may cause cut in communication, power failure and disruption in computer working.

Actually solar wind is a continuing phenomenon and its impact becomes highest when Sun Spot Maximum occurs. It is releasing charged particles to earth’s surrounding space without break. These particles, mainly electrons and protons, with energies up to 10 crore volts are magnetically trapped in the earth’s magnetic field. These regions of trapped energetic particles are called Radiation Belts. When a satellite passes through these belts, charged particles in it may not only destroy its solar panels but can harm the shield of the satellite. These radiation belts are located between 600-2560 km and 2Ro-6Ro (Ro being 6372 km) above earth surface.

Is there any solution to these natural problems? There is a cure to every disease. Whenever above referred EM signals come in contact with these harmful energetic particles (process known as wave-particle interaction), energy exchange between waves and particles takes place. This process de-energises these particles and they are dragged out of belts to reach at lower altitudes of 100-120 km above earth. If these are somehow deposited at 60-80 km altitudes, the nonconducting atmosphere becomes conductive which is beneficial for many telecom signals (Fig. 2).

Scientists were familiar with the harmful nature of solar wind/radiation belt particles since 1960. As these particles can cause harm in many ways, scientists of the USA, Britain and France are busy in various experiments of de-energising these particles. In India such experiments are being done at BHU, Varanasi, under Dr Ram Pal Singh, at Bichpuri (Agra) under Dr Birbal Singh and at Jammu University under Dr Lalmani. This integrated project is being financed by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of Central Government. A part of this project is being carried out at Adampur (Hisar) by this author under financial assistance of the University Grants Commission.

The writer is from the department of physics, Government College, Adampur (Hisar).top

 

Cybersurfing with Amar Chandel
A search engine called jadoo

Ever since Subeer Bhatia pioneered the free e-mail address service called Hotmail, similar services have been mushrooming but Hotmail continues to hold its own. Following the sale of this great service to Microsoft in a multi-million dollar deal, Hotmail has become a full-fledged search engine leading one to everything — news,views and other information. Microsoft’s backing has done it a world of good. There are freebies galore and the websites load real quick.

Equally fascinating is the success of three other Indian Americans. Gunjan Sinha, Ashutosh Roy and Priyaranjan Sinha founded WhoWhere Inc, a home page, electronic mail and phone number search company, two years ago. Within four months after founding the company, they had over eight million listings and crossed the 10-million mark soon thereafter.

This Internet search and directory service has now been purchased by Lycos Inc of Waltham for a whopping $ 133 million. The three Indian founders, who attended Jesuit schools in Bihar, are no longer executives with the company. Sinha and Roy have now co-founded an electronic commerce company, eGain, based in San Jose (California). Considering their earlier wizardry, they are likely to make a big success of that as well.

Since Lycos had also purchased Tripod, another service offering home pages for $ 57 million in January, it is now set to become the fourth largest search engine behind America Online, Yahoo and the Microsoft Corporation.

Talking of websearch engines, India now has one of its very own. http://www.jadoo.com is touted as the first “official” search engine and brings together much information about India. Business, news, forex rates, festivals, latest movies (and their reviews), recipes… you can have your pick. The service is clearly modelled after Yahoo. The Indian Diaspora is going particularly ga-ga over the baby names service. Those living abroad must be really finding it difficult to pick a suitable name for their children. This search engine comes in handy. Just mention whether you want the name for a boy or a girl and what should be the first letter and you are given hundreds of likely names. Why only those living abroad? Even those here in India can make good use of it.

The search engine has its headquarters in New York with operation centres in San Francisco, Baltimore, London, Sydney and Toronto. Useful that the service is, the text in it seems to be hastily prepared. While talking about itself, the company says: “We maintain sites extremely (sic) for India and India related (sic) to keep our professionalism available to the Indian societies all over the world. Our mission is to improve the business activities in the Indian sub-continent”. Considering the enthusiastic response they are generating, they should be successful in their mission.

A free user-friendly service for Indian expatriates is available at www.i-imall.com. They can type their message and the telephone numbers of the person living in Delhi and areas around it like Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Sahibabad, Gurgaon, Rewari and Noida etc and click “send”. The moment the message is received at I-iMall, it is delivered to the recipient through a phone call.

That is called technology with a human face. The company behind it, Informica Inc., is planning to launch free websites for business and traders, says its CEO, Mr Kamal Goel. But even before that, they will do well to explore the possibility of expanding the messaging service to the whole of India.

A good site that has come up in celebration of 50 years of India’s Independence is http://www.india50.com which deals with economic affairs, personalities and festivals of India. Corporate presence is strong. The project has already won the cool site of the day award.

Then, of course, there are old faithfuls like www.all-india.com and the National Informatics Centre website www.nic.in.

From heavy stuff, let us move on to fun and games. Quite a few games can be downloaded from the sites www.download.net and www.sega.com.

A large number of readers have sent us bouquets, suggestions and also details of useful websites. We will feature such responses or reactions every fortnight after testing them exhaustively. We regret that it is not possible to increase the frequency of the column for some time. Do keep writing. Happy surfing!

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  NEW PRODUCTS & DISCOVERIES

New method to make tablets
US researchers have developed a process which is all set to revolutionalise the way tablets and other drug forms are prepared.

The process called Accudep, developed by Delsys, is based on electrostatic deposition and allows very accurate dosages to be manufactured, reports Manufacturing Chemist.

The technology can be applied to any drug formulation that involves dry powders in the manufacturing process, including buccal, sublingual, transdermal and inhaler formulations. It can even be used for reconstitutable sterile injectibles.

All are based on the ability to handle the powder. Powders can cause problems during manufacture with their tendency to clump and reluctance to flow freely.

The basic principle of the Accudep process involved giving charge to the active raw material powder, which is mostly a surface phenomenon. Once the material is charged, it can be attracted very precisely onto a film where it is deposited.

Novel binder for concrete
Russian experts have come up with new concrete varieties which are resistant to moisture, frost, water and chemicals and do not dry up fast.

The key component of this wonder concrete is a novel binder with low water yield, developed by researchers from Moscow-based Stori-progress company. Their composition differs greatly from the conventional cement binders.

The new binders can be a good alternative for remote area constructions, say the researchers as only clinkers have to be delivered to these areas. Using the technology local builders can produce top quality concrete and related products.

The binders feature a special ‘modifier’ with a high plasticity. Various other substances like quartz or feldspar sand, crushed rock, blast furnace slag and wastes from ore processing and glass-making industries are also exploited as additives.

Computer centre for kids
CHILDREN ages 3 to 7 can get a jump start on computer technology with Young Explorer, developed by IBM and The Little Tikes. The heart of the durable, colourful plastic computer centre is a Windows 95 PC powered by a Pentium MMX processor. Scaled to the eye level and arm reach of toddlers, it includes a 14-inch monitor, CD-ROM drive, five software titles, a bench for two, and a membrane keyboard for easy cleanup. Price: $2,399. (Popular Science)

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Science Quiz
by J. P. Garg

1. This British scientist, who now lives in Sri Lanka, is known as the father of satellite television. Name this science fiction writer whose book “2001: A Space Odyssey’’ has been made into a classic film.

2. In some post offices a machine is installed in which, for sending a letter, one has to insert a coin of suitable denomination and post an envelope containing the letter without stamping it. What is this machine called?

3. What is “Karnal bunt’’ and why is it so called?

4. Breast cancer occurs only in women. Name the cancer that occurs only in men.

5. Which is the fastest flying bird?

6. DNES and IREDA are two Indian organisations dealing with non-conventional energy. What are their full forms?

7. What is the common name for hydrogen hydroxide?

8. Who invented the refrigerator and in which year?

9. Sunlight is essential for growing vegetables. Which vegetable is normally grown in boxes in almost darkness?

10. To focus attention of the world on the problem of environment, the United Nations held a Conference on Environment and Development at Rio-de-Janeiro in June, 1992. By which name is this conference popularly known?

Answers:
1. Arthur C. Clarke 2. Automatic Franking Machine 3. A disease of wheat that originated from Karnal 4. Prostate cancer 5. Spine-tailed swift of Japan 6. Department of Non-Conventional Energy Sources; Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency 7. Water 8. American scientist Jacob Perkins in 1934 9. Mushroom 10. Earth Summit.
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