Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority
THE true independence and functional autonomy of the existing Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has been questioned for long. The issue gained further importance in recent months after it was raised in many quarters in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March in Japan.
the government introduced the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill in the Lok Sabha
the AERB has been a subordinate entity of the DAE, and therefore lacking in strict functional independence and autonomy.
The AERB reports to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), whose Chairman is the Secretary of the DAE. That is, the regulatory agency reports to the very body whose functioning and operations it is supposed to regulate and monitor in the public interest.
the AERB does not have its own technical staff and facilities to support its regulatory duties. Given the absence of expertise regarding nuclear matters outside the DAE system, the AERB has to rely on the scientists and engineers of DAE institutions to serve on its evaluation committees.
the government seeks to establish a NSRA comprising a chairperson, two whole-time members and not more than four part-time members who will be selected by a search committee constituted for the purpose. The general structure is similar to that of the AERB though the total number of members envisaged now is more than what the AERB is allowed to have.
as and when the NSRA gets established, the AERB will stand dissolved
The AERB’s mandated responsibilities included developing safety policies keeping in view recommendations and evolving standards of international bodies as well as local requirements. Now this aspect relating to evolving policies on nuclear and radiological safety will be entrusted with a new overseeing body called the Council of Nuclear Safety, which the Bill seeks to establish.
European Pressurised Reactors
- France has launched a process of stress tests on all its nuclear installations after the Fukushima disaster