Wednesday, 30 April 2014 08:02




An independent body, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) monitors safety. The safety standards formulated by AERB are at par with those recommended by the international bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was constituted on November 15, 1983 by the President of India to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions under the Act. The regulatory authority of AERB is derived from the rules and notifications promulgated under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 and the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986.

The mission of the Board is to ensure that the use of ionizing radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to health and the environment.

AERB is supported in its functions by a number of committees. Members of all the AERB committees are recognized experts with long experience in the relevant fields and come from DAE units, various Governmental organizations, academic institutes and industry. A large number of retired experts are also members of the various AERB Committees.

The apex safety review committees of AERB are the Safety Review Committee for Operating Plants (SARCOP) and the Safety Review Committee for Applications of Radiation (SARCAR). SARCOP was constituted in June, 1988 to evaluate and enforce nuclear, radiological and industrial safety in all operating units including public sector undertakings of the Department of Atomic Energy, for ensuring safety of the operating personnel, members of the public and the environment. SARCOP is supported by a number of specialist committees such as the Standing Committee on Reactor Physics, Committee on Steam and Water Chemistry, Committee on Control & Instrumentation and Computer Systems and Expert Group on Coolant Channel Safety for detailed review of issues pertaining to specific technical fields. In addition, there is a unit safety committee for each operating unit (or a group of units) for detailed operational safety review of individual units and advising SARCOP. In 1987, AERB constituted a Committee known as Licensing and Appellate Committee. This committee was restructured in 1991 with a new name as Safety Review Committee for Applications of Radiation (SARCAR) with a view to streamlining the implementation of Radiation Protection Rules in all practices and organizations using radioisotopes and radiation sources in medical, industrial and research institutes.

AERB has also constituted a number of Advisory Committees that deal with nuclear safety, radiological safety, industrial and fire safety, and occupational health. In addition, there are Advisory Committees for Safety review of various Projects (ACPSR) and Advisory Committees for assisting AERB in its safety documents development work. The Advisory Committee on Nuclear Safety (ACNS) was constituted in January, 1985. to advise AERB on generic issues affecting the safety of nuclear installations including siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning The Committee also reviews and makes final recommendations on the draft AERB safety Codes, Guides and Manuals before they are put up to Chairman, AERB for approval. Similarly, the Advisory Committee on Radiological Safety (ACRS), Advisory Committee on Industrial and Fire Safety (ACIFS) and the Advisory Committee on Occupational Health (ACOH) advises AERB in the respective fields. ACPSRs of various projects recommend to AERB issuance of authorization at different stages during siting, construction and commissioning of nuclear facilities including NPPs, after reviewing the submissions made by the plant authorities and based on the recommendations of the associated Project Design Safety Committees. AERB has constituted an Advisory Committee for preparation of Code & Guides on Governmental Organization for the Regulation of Nuclear & Radiation facilities (ACCGORN). There are also the Advisory Committees for Codes, Guides & Associated Manuals for Safety in Operation of NPPs (ACCGASO) and Safety in Design (ACCGD) as also the Advisory Committee for Safety Documents for Fuel Cycle Facilities (ACSDFCF).

Salient functions of AERB include:

• Develop safety policies in both radiation and industrial safety areas.

• Develop Safety Codes, Guides and Standards for siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning of different types of nuclear and radiation facilities.

• Grant consents for siting, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning, after an appropriate safety review and assessment, for establishment of nuclear and radiation facilities.

• Ensure compliance of the regulatory requirements prescribed by AERB during all stages of consenting through a system of review and assessment, regulatory inspection and enforcement.

• Prescribe the acceptance limits of radiation exposure to occupational workers and members of the public and approve acceptable limits of environmental releases of radioactive substances.

• Review of the emergency preparedness plans for nuclear and radiation facilities.

• Safety reviews for transport of large radioactive sources, irradiated fuel and fissile material.

• Review of the training program, qualifications and licensing policies for personnel of nuclear and radiation facilities and prescribe the syllabi for training of personnel in safety aspects at all levels.

• Take such steps as necessary to keep the public informed on major issues of radiological safety significance.

• Promote research and development efforts in the areas of safety.

• Maintain liaison with statutory bodies in the country as well as abroad regarding safety matters.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 08:24