Energy Current Affairs - 2019

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Nageshwara Rao Guntur appointed as Chairperson of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board

Union Government has appointed renowned scientist Nageshwara Rao Guntur as Chairperson of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). His appointment as the AERB chairperson will be for three years. Guntur is the chairman, Project Design Safety Committee, Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) and former distinguished scientist Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)

It was established in November 1983 to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions in the fields of nuclear and radiation safety on a countrywide basis. It was constituted by President of India by exercising powers conferred by Section 27 of Atomic Energy Act, 1962 to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions under the Act. The regulatory authority of AERB is derived from rules and notifications promulgated under Atomic Energy Act, 1962 and Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986. It is headquartered is in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Its mission is to ensure that use of ionising radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to health and environment. Currently, it consists of full-time Chairman, an ex officio Member, three part-time Members and Secretary.

Scientists build and flow first-ever silent airplane with no moving propellers or jet turbines

Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US have built and flown first-ever silent airplane with no moving propellers or jet turbines. At present, every aircraft have moving parts such as propellers, turbine blades and fans, which are powered by the combustion of fossil fuels or by battery packs that produce a persistent, whining buzz.

Key Facts

MIT researchers have designed this lightweight plane weighing about five pounds with five-meter wingspan. It was flown at distance of 60 meters, a feat that was repeated 10 times. It was simplest possible plane design that could prove concept that ion plane could fly. It is first-ever plane having no moving parts in propulsion system.

This new light aircraft does not carry propellers or turbines and also not depends on fossil fuels to fly. It is inspired from movie and television series “Star Trek”. It is powered by ionic wind or electrodynamic thrust, a silent but mighty flow of ions that is produced aboard plane. It can generate enough thrust to propel plane over sustained, steady flight. Unlike propeller-driven planes, the new design is completely silent.


It has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler and do not emit combustion emissions. In the near-term, such ion wind propulsion systems could be used to fly less noisy drones. Moreover, ion propulsion paired with more conventional combustion systems can create more fuel-efficient, hybrid passenger planes and other large aircrafts in future.