Atomic Energy Regulatory Board

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Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board logo.gif
Agency overview
Formed November 15, 1983; 34 years ago (1983-11-15)
Jurisdiction Indian government
Headquarters Mumbai
Employees Classified
Agency executive
  • Shri Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj, Chairman

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) was constituted on November 15, 1983 by the President of India by exercising the powers conferred by Section 27 of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962) 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 headquarters is in Mumbai.[1]

The mission of the Board is to ensure that the use of ionising radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to health and the environment. Currently, the Board consists of a full-time Chairman, an ex officio Member, three part-time Members and a Secretary.

AERB is supported by the Safety Review Committee for Operating Plants (SARCOP), Safety Review Committee for Applications of Radiation (SARCAR) and Advisory Committees for Project Safety Review (ACPSRs) (e.g. Pressurized heavy-water reactor, light water reactor, Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor and waste management projects). ACPSRs recommend to AERB issuance of authorisations at different stages of a plant of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), after reviewing the submissions made by the plant authorities based on the recommendations of the associated Design Safety Committees. The SARCOP carries out safety surveillance and enforces safety stipulations in the operating units of the DAE. The SARCAR recommends measures to enforce radiation safety in medical, industrial and research institutions which use radiation and radioactive sources.

AERB also receives advice from the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Safety (ACNS). ACNS is composed of experts from AERB, DAE and institutions outside the DAE. ACNS provides recommendations on the safety codes, Guides and manuals prepared for siting, design, construction, operation, quality assurance and decommissioning/life extension of nuclear power plants which have been prepared by the respective advisory committees for each of these areas. It also advises the Board on generic safety issues. ACNS examines and advice on any specific matter that are referred to it by AERB.

The administrative and regulatory mechanisms which are in place ensure multi-tier review by experts available nationwide. These experts come from reputed academic institutions and governmental agencies.

The Formation of AERB: Down the memory Lane[edit]

During the commissioning of Tarapur Atomic Power Station in 1969, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) set up a safety committee to receive advice on matters related to safety and to give clearance for first criticality and subsequent power operation of the station. A Design and Operations Review Committee was later constituted to monitor the safety aspects of TAPS operation independently. One of the ex-chiefs of AERB, Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, had difference of opinion with the DAE tsars and, after his retirement, he has been writing about AERB being a paper tiger controlled by nuclear hungry DAE bosses. After Fukushima incident, the government of India is thinking of making AERB an independent regulatory authority to save face.

DAE Safety Review Committee (DAE-SRC)[edit]

DAE-SRC was set up on February 3, 1972 to offer advice to DAE on safety matters related to commissioning and operation of Unit-1 of Rajasthan Atomic Power Station. The experts for the Committee were drawn from within DAE. The Safety Committee appointed by Director, Power Projects Engineering Division on December 15, 1969 to prepare Safety Report for RAPS-1 was authorised by DAE to monitor the performance of commissioning tests and to make safety reviews till the attainment of commercial operation.
The formal regulatory review was consolidated with the reconstitution of SRC on December 2, 1975 to deal with major safety policies and issues in all the constituent units of DAE. SRC dealt with nearly all aspects related to the safety of operations in DAE units.

Recommendation to set up AERB[edit]

On July 23, 1979 Secretary, DAE constituted a Committee chaired by Dr. M.D. Karkhanawala, Chairman, DAE-SRC with Shri S.D. Soman the then Head, Health Physics Division as Member-Secretary to study "the existing terms of reference of SRC, its functions, the modalities of reporting by the Units as well as the impediments faced by the Committee". According to the notification setting up the committee, the review of the terms of reference and the working of the Safety Review Committee became necessary "to ensure that not only safety consciousness is inculcated, but that safe practices prevail in all the Units of the DAE including the public sector undertakings".
The Committee was asked to report on the specific functions and responsibilities of SRC in order to enable the DAE to discharge its obligations under the Atomic Energy Act in so far as all the units as well as the public sector undertakings of the Department are concerned.
The Committee was reconstituted on February 18, 1980 with Shri V.N. Meckoni, the then Director, Chemical Group, BARC as the Chairman and Shri S.D. Soman, the then Head, Health Physics Division as Member-Secretary. The Report of the Committee titled "Reorganization of Regulatory and Safety Functions" (February 1981) recommended "the creation of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board by the Atomic Energy Commission with powers to lay down safety standards and assist DAE in framing rules and regulations for enforcing regulatory and safety requirements envisaged under the Atomic Energy Act 1962". The Committee also recommended that AERB "should be a statutory body under the Act (if necessary by suitable amendment of the Act) to give AERB a legal basis".
The Committee stated that "in order to enable AERB to function effectively and exercise its authority in an independent manner it should be constituted by and reporting to the Atomic Energy Commission and should consist of senior persons from DAE as well as external members. In this manner public confidence in nuclear safety matter would be enhanced".
The current functions and powers of AERB are almost verbatim taken from the report of the committee. AERB was set up on November 15, 1983. A separate notification indicating the functions and responsibilities of DAE-SRC was issued simultaneously. AERB's functions included enforcement of provisions of radiological protection in the radiation installations outside the DAE. Professor A.K.De, formerly Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, was appointed the first Chairman of AERB.
A Committee set up on March 21, 1987 with Shri V.N. Meckoni as Chairman reviewed the functions and responsibilities of AERB. The Committee submitted its recommendations on May 15, 1987. These were accepted by the Government. As recommended by the Committee, DAE-SRC became a part of AERB as AERB-SRC and later as Safety Review Committee for Operating Plants (AERB-SARCOP). The functions and responsibilities of AERB were broadened considerably. Currently, AERB is carrying out its functions as per the original notification and in the light of the recommendations of the Meckoni Committee.

Divisions of AERB[edit]

AERB secretariat has Nine technical divisions & two supporting divisions. The heads and directors of divisions constitute the Executive Committee which meets periodically with Chairman, AERB and Vice-Chairman, AERB to take decisions on important policy matters related to the management of the Secretariat of the Board. The different divisions of AERB are:

1. SSED : Siting and Structural Engineering Division

2. IPSD : Industrial Plants Safety Division

3. R&DD  :Resources & Documentation Division

4. NPSD : Nuclear Projects Safety Division

5. OPSD : Operating Plant Safety Division

6. RSD : Radiological Safety Division

7. NSAD : Nuclear Safety Analysis Division

8. SRI : Safety Research Institute, Kalpakkam

9. DRA&C: Directorate of Regulatory Affairs & Communications

10. DRI: Directorate of Regulatory Inspections

Support Division

1. Administration Division
2. Accounts Division

Siting and Structural Engineering Division (SSED)[edit]

The primary responsibilities of SSED [previously Civil and Structural Engineering Division (CSED)] are:

a) Safety Review pertaining to Civil and Structural Engineering aspects of nuclear reactors, fuel cycle facilities, industrial and radiation facilities of DAE.
b) Site evaluation of nuclear facilities
c) Developing civil engineering safety criteria for design, construction and erection of NPPs

Industrial Plants Safety Division (IPSD)[edit]

The IPSD's primary reposnsibilities are:

a) Administration of The Factories Act, 1948 and The Atomic Energy (Factories) Rules, 1996 in DAE units viz front end fuel cycle facilities of IREL, UCIL, NFC and HWPs, Nuclear Power Plants/Projects, BRIT facilities, IGCAR facilities, ECIL facilities and DAE accelerator facilities of VECC and RRCAT.
b) Administration of The Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004 for enforcing radiological safety in front end fuel cycle facilities, DAE accelerator units and all Beach Sand Minerals Facilities of India.
c) Safety review of the above facilities during siting, construction, commissioning and operation.
d) Regulatory Inspection of the above facilities and special monthly regulatory inspection of major construction projects of DAE.
e) Industrial Safety, Fire Safety and Occupational Health Safety review of all DAE projects and plants (except BARC facilities).
f) Licensing of Operating Personnel in front end fuel cycle facilities

Resources and Documentation Division (RDD)[edit]

The primary activities of RDD includes

a) Document Development &Publication
b) Knowledge management(Training)
c) Manpower Induction
d) Website Management
e) Update of IT infrastructure
f) Library Management

Nuclear Projects Safety Division (NPSD)[edit]

The activities of NPSD include:

a) Safety Review of Nuclear Projects.
b) Regulatory Inspection & Enforcement in projects under construction.
c) Issue of authorisations at various stages of the projects as per established procedures and protocols.
d) Review of physical protection aspects in projects.

Operating Plants Safety Division (OPSD)[edit]

The responsibilities of OPSD are:

a) Safety Review and Safety Surveillance including Health Physics Aspects and Emergency
b) Preparedness of operating NPPs and Research Reactors
c) Regulatory Inspection and Enforcement in respect of all operating NPPs and Research Reactors
d) Conducting Periodic Safety Review and Renewal of Authorisation
e) Licensing of the operating personnel and the management staff
f) Review of Physical Protection aspects in operating plants
g) Enforcement of Atomic Energy (Safe Disposal of Radioactive Wastes) Rules, 1987
h) Co-ordination with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) based reporting of events and for the Incident Reporting System (IRS) operated by IAEA/NEA
i) Function as secretariat of SARCOP

Radiological Safety Division (RSD)[edit]

The RSD has the responsibilities of

a) Licensing, Surveillance and Safety Review of BRIT facilities and Non-DAE Radiation Installations including Accelerators and Irradiators
b) Implementation of Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004 and enforcement of Atomic Energy (Safe Disposal of Radioactive Waste) Rules, 1987 in non-DAE installations
c) Ensuring safety in Transportation of Radioactive Material in public domain
d) Function as secretariat for SARCAR (Safety Review Committee for Application of Radiation)

Nuclear Safety Analysis Division (NSAD)[edit]

NSAD's prime responsibilities include:

a) Deterministic Safety Analysis
b) Probabilistic Safety Assessment
c) Safety Review of Indian Nuclear Power Plants
d) Nuclear Regulatory Research
e) Independent check for resolving issues related with nuclear plant safety requiring analysis to be carried out

Safety Research Institute (SRI), Kalpakkam[edit]

The major activities of SRI include research and development in areas of regulatory interest. Some of these areas are listed below:

I. Nuclear Plant Safety Studies[edit]

i) Reactor Physics Studies
ii) Seismic Studies § Severe Accident Analysis
iii) Database Creation in Component Failure Rate
iv) Reliability Analysis of safety systems of Nuclear Power Plants
v) Development of methodology of Probabilistic Safety Assessment


III. Environmental Safety Studies[edit]

i) Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (RSGIS) Applications
ii) Hydro-geological Investigations
iii) Modeling of Radionuclide Migration in the Ground Environment
iv) Environmental Impacts of Nuclear Discharges on Entrained Organisms

IV. Regulatory Inspection[edit]

i) Services in the Regulatory Inspections of Radiation facilities in the Southern Region

AERB has a mechanism to check its effectiveness and quality assurance in its activities and a process by which it improves its systems through its own experience feedback and international regulatory practices.

Important persons[edit]

  • Shri Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj: Chairman, AERB
  • Shri D. K. Shukla, Executive Director, AERB


  1. ^ "contactus". Archived from the original on 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 

External links[edit]